Q3 cocoa grindings stood at 210,970 metric tons for third quarter compared with 202,665 tons in the same period of 2020.
The CAA also reported a 4.5% decrease from the second quarter of this year, when grindings stood at 220,865 tons.
"The grind result this quarter is reflective of the current dire global logistics situation," a spokesperson for the Association said.
Cocoa grindings represent the volume of cocoa beans processed into the butters and powders used to make chocolate – and are commonly used by the industry as a proxy for cocoa demand.
Speaking to ConfectioneryNews, Alvin Lee, chairman of the CAA, said: “All things considered … it was a fairly strong performance … but as a global industry amongst many other industries, we are all being affected by logistics issues in terms of container freight.
“That is definitely throwing a little bit of a spanner into the works at the moment. But we hope this is more temporary than anything. If you look at the past two year’s performance of grind in Asia-Pacific, in the grand scheme of things Asia has actually done really well in terms of processing and consequently you can assume demand.”
Lee said demand has been driven by the recent trend in home-baking during the pandemic and home consumption.
Malaysia as a trading hub
Malaysia imports most of it its cocoa beans from African countries through Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) before processing and exporting them – and there are plans to develop the area as a trading hub.
Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, told local media earlier this month that the government will “take a look at the potential for bringing in foreign investors to start a chocolate factory and make this hub a distribution centre to ASEAN and other countries”.
Four local companies, including Fuji Global Chocolate, use PTP as their cocoa hub grinding 460,000 tons annually. Last year, Malaysia was the second largest cocoa processor in Asia and sixth in the world, contributing 7% of the world’s cocoa grinding, according to analysis by Malaysian media outlet Bernama.
Malaysia’s own production is relatively small with just over 5,000 cocoa growers producing an estimated 1,000 tons annually.
Zuraida said cocoa grinding has a bigger potential for the region compared to farming. “The cocoa industry contributed RM6.2 billion ($1.5bn) to export income in 2020. The ministry is confident that the target this year of RM6.5 billion can be achieved.”