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Biotechnology is the use of biological processes or organisms for the production of materials and services of benefit to humankind. Biotechnology includes the use of techniques for the improvement of the characteristics of economically important plants and animals and for the development of micro-organisms to act on the environment.

The term “modern biotechnology” is used to distinguish recent, research based activities includes a range of techniques from recombinant DNA technology, molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry and immunology through to information technology. Gene technology is a specific subset of biotechnology, the scientific manipulation of living organisms, especially at the molecular genetic level, to produce new products, such as hormones, vaccines or monoclonal antibodies.

Biotechnology is a powerful enabling technology, with applications that have the potential to revolutionize many industry sectors including agriculture, forestry, fishing, pharmaceuticals and health, chemicals, textiles, food processing, environmental industries, energy and mining.

COCOABiotech was established in 2002. This centre aims to implement research and development cocoa biotechnology program. Alongside with cocoa industry country necessity, biotechnology cocoa research activity will include agro-biotechnology, food biotechnology, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceutical biotechnology. The COCOABiotech Centre of Excellence will help establish Malaysia as a regional and world centre for cocoa biotechnology innovation and application. The development and application of critical technologies for cocoa biotechnology commercialization and major collaborative projects will be a primary focus of the Centre.


- Research focus program on cocoa

- Wide use of ICT

- A highly qualified expertise and variety of interests

- Government who understand the need to support the biotechnology program

- Strong collaborative researchers interactions based on close mentoring relationships in laboratory

- An extensive grants program supporting research, human resource development, joint ventures with industry and government

- An annual biotechnology symposium featuring world renowned speakers and research presentation with published proceedings

- Proximity to major university - UMS, UiTM

- Situated in major cocoa growing areas

- A need for enhanced administrative appreaciation of resources required to support biotechnology research and development

- Inadequate and aging facilities & equipment to meet the additional needs

- A lack of awareness regarding the practice of science in the public and private sector

- Inconsistent or non-existent administration policies

- Inadequate funding to achieve our stated goals and objectives

- Low number of higher degree biotechnology

- Inadequate public relations activities

- Poor English language communication by supporting staff

- Inadequate article journals

- Infrastructure and work environment not conducive to support programs and activities

- Lack knowledge and experience staffs

- Growth and diversification of the biotechnology industry

- Increasing awareness of biotechnology workforce issues in legislative and executive government offices

- The biotechnology industry as a place for organization sabbaticals and student internships

- The oppourtunity to increase entrepreneurial activity

- Expertise that biotechnology industry finds of value

- Industry as a source of equipment, supplies and advisors

- Take advantage of technologies for remote access to instrumentation

- Collaboration research program with national and international institutions

- Pooled genetic diversity

- Lack of understanding of biotechnology issues by the public

- Competing biotechnology interest groups

- Competing facilities, human resource and other needs

- different philosophies on training vs. education

- need to adjust type and level of biotechnology technology to the current needs of the industry

- Staff turnover and loss of expertise

- Increasing aging staff

- Continuing decline of cocoa growth

- Lack of technologies and products

- Public concern on GMO issues


Cocoa Industry New technology and continuous services Complain
Government Compliance to regulations Enforcement
Ministry of Primary Industry Growth and development of cocoa industry Review
Top management Growth and development of cocoa industry Review
Director Technology development and services Review / resign
Employee Good salary and benefit Low productivity
Suppliers Prompt payment Stoppage supplies
Consumers High quality and low cost of cocoa products Boycott, sabotage
NGOs Friendly environment Lobying


To be the premier technology development and service center for cocoa biotechnology


To develop new technologies and provide services through capacity building, innovation and excellent services


  • By 2015 to improve average farm yield by 20% through leading edge biotechnology and to reduce operating cost by 20%

  • By 2010 to develop molecular marker technology and transgenic plants that will allowed breeders to create superior cocoa trees for farmers

  • By 2015 to develop specialty cocoa trees such as for high butter, high flavor, unique flavor, high anti-oxidant level

  • By 2015 to diversify & improve the quality of cocoa products (including already fermented & dried inferior beans) with new technologies at reasonable cost

  • By 2015 to develop new product through discovering novel & useful bioactive compounds from cocoa tree & associated microbes in the cocoa environment at reasonable cost

  • By 2005 to develop new research center with excellent infrastructure & facility to support biotechnology innovation and services in good working environment

  • Establish & strengthen collaboration with national & international biotechnology centres & build relationships for technology development partnerships.

  • Ensures that potential risks from the introduction of genetically modified organisms are accurately assessed & are managed effectively.

  • Develop capacity-building programmes to enhanced management skills & high quality researchers with competently delivers effective & equitable technology & services in cocoa biotechnology by 2010.


    Research and Development
    - Encourage continuing R & D in cocoa biotechnology that will give dramatic impact on cocoa industry.
    - Develop new technologies and stimulate commercialization of research finding for entrepreneurship in biotechnology industry of cocoa

    - Ensure an effective scientific base and make strategic investments in R & D to support biotechnology innovation, the regulatory framework and economic development

    Research Collaboration
    - Develop biotechnology collaboration and stronger linkages with local and international organizations and industry
    - Support needs of other institutions and industry on human resource development, equipment and infrastructures

    Access to Biological and Genetic Resources
    - Develop appropriate documentation, management and access protocols
    - Address issues of access to biological resources within cocoa growing countries, including through regulations under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

    Human Resources Development
    - Develop, attract, motivate and retain high quality researchers, particularly in those fields that has strong capacities to commercialise research outcomes.
    - Improve management of research, intellectual property and technology.
    - Monitor emerging skills needs in the biotechnology sector and develop appropriate responses.

    Strengthening Intellectual Property Management
    - Analyse biotechnology IP management needs of researchers, technology managers and other stakeholders, and support development of pilot programs to address these needs.
    - Promote opportunties for research and industry groups to share experiences in IP management from innovation through to commercialisation.
    - Identify impediments caused by R & D lead times and regulatory delays that may affect the effective patent life of biotechnology innovations.

    Environmental Risk Management and Risk Assessment
    - Establish a framework and a methodology for risk management and risk assessment.
    - Identify priorities for an environmental risk management and risk assessment program.
    - Monitor and evaluate any impacts.

    GMOs and Ethical Issues
    - Improve public awareness and understanding of biotechnology through open, transparent communications and dialogue.
    - Strengthen and enhance ethical standards and existing approaches to ethical issues.


    Integrity & Ethics
    We do what's right and demand honesty, maintenance of confidentiality and adherence to professional standards of excellence.

    Continuous Improvement
    We consistently question the status quo and seek opportunities for improvement. At the same time, we strive for a stimulating work environment open to learning, curiosity and innovation.

    Sense of Urgency
    Our orientation demands that we address issues and requests immediately, reasonably and comprehensively.

    Open Communication
    We share information, expertise and experience. At any given moment we may be students, mentors, teachers or consultants.

    Initiative & Reward
    We encourage resourcefulness, conscientiousness and leadership from each employee. We reward excellence in performance.

    Sound strategy and creative implementation require diverse talents working in unison. Best Value for our clients depends on everyone's cooperation and mutual support.

    We operate with a sense of ownership for the Board and for responsibilities entrusted to us by our clients and shareholders.