The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) is targeting to turn out over 100 chocolate entrepreneurs nationwide in the next six months involving an allocation of RM3 million.

Its Minister, Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said, at present, the ministry was actively conducting a basic course on the development of handmade chocolate entrepreneurs by targeting the B40 group to improve their socio-economic status.

"The first phase of the course following the COVID-19 pandemic is in Kuala Nerus, Terengganu involving 28 participants ... we also have a list of the names of over 20 representative participants each for Penang, Kedah, Johor and Pahang.

"Normally, only 60 to 70 per cent of the participants in this course will be entrepreneurs, but after the pandemic, in a situation where many were laid off .... the ministry fervently hopes that more than 90 per cent of the participants will use these skills to run a chocolate business as a source of income, "he told reporters after launching the course here today.

Currently, chocolate entrepreneurs were divided into four categories, namely, the first level involves a production of 100 kilogrammes (kg) and below, the second (100 kg to 300 kg), the third (300 kg to 800 kg) and the fourth (800 kg upward).

He added that the ministry would also assist all chocolate entrepreneurs according to the current appropriateness and their level of sales.

He said this would be done through the purchase of equipment such as chocolate melting machines, mixers and 'chillers' refrigerators according to the size of their business operations up to RM100,000 to renovate the premises.

"In addition, the ministry also wants all states to also have their respective chocolate production hubs, thus boosting further the country's tourism sector," he said.