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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

NEW PLANTING OF COCONUT (PART 2)

COCONUT (Cocos nucifera) are an important crop in Malaysia and few other ASEAN countries. The  crop are categorised as ''Plant of Life'' from the locals as there are many uses from this plant.  have been receiving quite a few requests of late regarding information in setting-up a coconut plantation. While I would love to write a comprehensive coverage of all aspects involved in establishing a coconut plantation, it will be an enormous undertaking, and something that cannot be covered simply in blog posts.  Instead, I will give some basics of starting a new coconut plantation, the key cost elements and man-power management al all requirements. In Malaysia currently there are about 96,000 hectare of coconut planted able to produce 650 million nuts annually. However Malaysia import 150 million nuts from Indonesia for processing anually.  Actually there are a number of important stages when attempting to set up a successful coconut plantation. Now, a lot of people may think: “What’s so difficult? Just look for a germinated coconut, dig a hole, and plant it!”. Well, that method may work if all you want is a coconut tree, or if the coconuts are meant to be ornamental plants. But for a thriving, production coconut plantation, extra care and consideration will be needed. This few series article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I would like to share the stages of planting new coconut farms.

Previously in Malaysia the old popular variety is the Malayan Tall and for hybrid are known as MAWA hybrid coconut. The latest hybrid variety are MATAG whereby the production of seedlings is limited, since the MATAG has pretty much replaced the MAWA as the premium variety of coconut. However, it is sometimes possible to get planting materials from DOA, if you are lucky. The MAWA does not produce very large coconuts or tender nuts with a very high volume of coconut water; however it does produce a high quality and quantity of coconut milk, which is also very fragrant and sweet. MATAG and MAWA are hybrid coconut. But the premium coconut of choice for tender drinking nut production in Malaysia comes from a Dwarf variety: the Aromatic Green Dwarf, a.k.a. the Pandan Coconut. As its names say, the sweet coconut water is highly aromatic, with a strong resemblance to the scent of lightly bruised pandanus leaves. The medium-sized nuts good volume of coconut water, ranging around 600ml per nut, and the soft endosperm has a nice jelly-like consistency. Previously the premium variety fetches a very high ex-farm price, ranging around RM2.50 for a good sized nut. Retail prices often reach RM6.00 per nut, even at roadside stalls and eateries. Probably due to its popularity, it is hard to find seedlings in large quantities from a single source; the best sources are from Bukit Kayu Hitam (Kedah), Kajang (Selangor), and Jabatan Pertanian stations (the best is Teluk Intan, Perak).

For me the Pandan coconut palms is the most potential variety for drinks. More common, and in fact often frowned upon, are the Malayan Dwarf varieties. There are two important varieties: the Malayan Red Dwarf (MRD), and the Malayan Yellow Dwarf (MYD). Both two are look quite similar, except that the MRD produces fronds with reddish or orange rachis and red-orange nuts, while the MYD produces yellow-green rachis and bright yellow nuts. Both varieties are very common place in Malaysia, especially the MYD. They produce medium sized nuts that are either bright yellow or red-orange, and the coconut water of both are sweetish-sour tasting, and carries a faint buttery coconut aroma. The endosperm is often firmer, as the coconuts from these varieties are often harvested at an older age. Since these varieties are so commonplace in Malaysia, not many vendors actually sell fresh tender whole nuts; it is usually sold in the form of cups or jugs, with added sugar to increase the sweetness of the drink. You will usually find them being sold in the pasar malam and roadside stalls. The Young MRD coconut palms easier to plant due to the availability of seedling from Jabatan Pertanian prior to order. There are a few more aspects to consider when choosing the right coconut variety, but I shall not touch on those areas, since doing so will amount to me writing a book. What should be kept in mind is that while coconuts are often synonymous with the seaside, they actually do far better on inland and coastal alluvial soils, not sand. If you only have coastal (sandy) soils to plant, then go with only hybrids or Tall varieties; growth and yield of Dwarfs are negatively affected by the porous soil and saline water. The article continue for Part 1, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6 respectively. Thank You!... 

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Bandar Baru UDA,
Johor Bahru, Johor,
Malaysia.
(3 September 2018).

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

NEW PLANTING OF COCONUT (PART 1)

COCONUT (Cocos nucifera) are an important crop in Malaysia and few other ASEAN countries. The  crop are categorised as ''Plant of Life'' from the locals as there are many uses from this plant.  have been receiving quite a few requests of late regarding information in setting-up a coconut plantation. While I would love to write a comprehensive coverage of all aspects involved in establishing a coconut plantation, it will be an enormous undertaking, and something that cannot be covered simply in blog posts.  Instead, I will give some basics of starting a new coconut plantation, the key cost elements and man-power management al all requirements. In Malaysia currently there are about 96,000 hectare of coconut planted able to produce 650 million nuts annually. However Malaysia import 150 million nuts from Indonesia for processing anually.  Actually there are a number of important stages when attempting to set up a successful coconut plantation. Now, a lot of people may think: “What’s so difficult? Just look for a germinated coconut, dig a hole, and plant it!”. Well, that method may work if all you want is a coconut tree, or if the coconuts are meant to be ornamental plants. But for a thriving, production coconut plantation, extra care and consideration will be needed. This few series article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I would like to share the stages of planting new coconut farms.

Stage A that was Preparing the Coconut Seedlings is an important stages for the discussion. As any serious agriculturist will tell you, getting the right planting materials is critical to the success or failure of crop production. This is even more important when it comes to perennial tree crops such as coconuts, since once the coconut palm is planted it becomes a 25 to 30 year-long commitment. Even if one is willing to correct the planting mistakes, it would have been 4-5 years along before any serious crop production issues are detected. And unlike many other tree crops where you can graft a superior variety onto the mediocre stock, and therefore change the variety of crop, this technique does not work with coconut palms. If a palm was to be replaced, it would have to be supplanted with another coconut seedling; and the waiting game starts over again. Get your coconut seedlings right. It will save you from a lot of headaches later on.

On the other stage, as the Step 1: Please Choose the Right Variety. There are a great many varieties of coconuts available to growers in the tropics, but broadly speaking, they can be classified into three general group: Tall, hybrids, and Dwarf. Each group has its own merit, and each cultivar within the group has its own unique feature that adds to its economic value. But for most smallholders, the real economic value in coconut is through the sale of tender drinking nuts, i.e. young coconuts with a high volume of sweet coconut water, and soft pulpy endosperm. As such, coconuts from the hybrid and Dwarf groups are of greater relevance to smallholder, given the shorter stature, ease of management and harvest, and quicker fruit bearing. In Malaysia, the most popular hybrid variety is the MATAG hybrid coconut. The MATAG is a multipurpose coconut variety, being a good variety for producing tender drinking nuts, as well as mature coconuts for the production of coconut milk. The husk fibers are also dense, making it suitable for production of coir. Supply of seedlings can be obtained from the Department of Agriculture. However, I have been made to understand that the supply is limited, and usually fully booked by farmers’ cooperatives. The article continue for Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6 respectively. Thank You.
By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Bandar Baru UDA,
Johor Bahru, Johor,
Malaysia.
(3 September 2018).

Sunday, September 23, 2018

CEKUR MANIS - POTENTIAL CROP


CEKUR MANIS or PUCUK MANIS or ASIN-ASIN (Sauropus androgynus (L.) Merr.) ia a popular plants grown in Malaysia consumed as vegetable. The plants are with Phyllanthaceae
 family wildly found in South East Asia. This species may be transferred to the genus Phyllanthus. A paper by Warren L. Wagner and David H. Lorence a scientist known as a wellknown nomenclator of Pacific oceanic island Phyllanthus (Phyllanthaceae) however 
has proposed submerging the genera Breynia, Glochidion, Reverchonia, Saurupus and Phyllanthodendron into a broadened concept of the genus Phyllanthus. This proposal has not yet (2014) been fully accepted, although the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families has accepted the name changes of the Pacific Island species of Glochidion, as detailed in the paper. No revised form of this name has been seen as yet. In English the common Name are Sweet Leaf (or Pucuk Manis in Bahasa Malaysia). This is because sweet leaf is a shrub growing about 3 metres tall. The plant is widely cultivated in several countries in east and southeast Asia including Malaysia as a medicinal plant and as a vegetable. It also often sold in local markets and it is one of the most prolific, nutritious and appetising of all green vegetables and deserves to be more widely known. There are some report on the ha
zards effect but has to be justified. This article in ''Anim Agriculture Technology" I would like to share info ablut Cekur Manis with all readers.

The plants are easy to manage and native to East Asia ranging from India, Bangladesh, South China to Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and few others. The habitat required a fertile soil with slopes with brushwood, sunny forest margins at elevations of 100 - 400 metres. The properties according to many scientist by sector are as edibility rating (5 star), for medicinal Rating (2 stars) and for other uses rating (2 star). it was a habit shrub with a optimum height of 3.00 meter. Even thouh it grow well in wild condition but recently cultivated in a commercial scale in Malaysia.  This plant of the tropics where it is well adapted to lowland conditions but can also be cultivated at elevations up to 4,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 26 - 35°C, but can tolerate 5 - 38°C. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 900 - 1,200mm, but tolerates 600 - 4,000 mm. Succeeds in full sun and semi shade, survives dry conditions and does not require a rich soil and the plants tolerant of very heavy soils. It also tolerant of heavy rainfall areas, though they prefer a well-drained soil with prefers a pH in the range 6 - 7, tolerating 5.5 - 7.5. The first harvest may be taken after 55 - 70 days after planting with proper agronomic practices. Plants can be harvested throughout the year[. In Malaysia the plant flowers all year-round and fruiting is usually abundant. The besta about this plant are where the plants are fairly resistant to insect predations.

The plant are edible either fresh or cooked whereby normally the leaf used as raw or cooked. Young leaves make a good addition to salads whilst older leaves are best cooked. They also can be added to soups or cooked with rice. The young shoots about 7cm long are harvested as the leaves unfurl, have a flavour like asparagus.  A sweet flavour where it was rather similar to fresh garden peas. The leaves are a good source of protein (about 6 - 10% in lab analysis an clain asa a very nutritious). The ripe fruits can be made into sweetmeats. A green dye are obtained from the leaves is used as organic and safe for food dyeing. In the medical aspects, this plant especially the leaves are used as a medicine for coughs and to soothe the lungs, as a tonic, and as a febrifugal to relieve internal fever[. The plants can be grown as a hedge so long as they are trimmed regularly to keep them within bounds. They are commonly grown as a living fence or to shade vegetable cultures. This articles able to share info ablut cekur manis for all readers. Thanks.!

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Bandar baru UDA, Johor Bahru,
Johor, Malaysia.
(4 September 2018). 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

SUPERSWEET MD2 PINEAPPLE IN MALAYSIA (Part 2)

PINEAPPLE VARIETY MD 2 is known by its trade names as “Golden Ripe”, “Super Sweet”, "Rompine" or “Gold”. Compared to other pineapple cultivars, MD2 is better in several qualities. Among them are: uniform bright gold colour, sweeter taste, fourtimes Vitamin C content, lower fiber, lower acidity, thinner skin, smaller fruits at an average of 1.5 kg each, and longer shelf life. Additionally, because of its superior eating qualities, MD2 can command three times the price of other pineapple varieties. These are the major factors that have motivated pineapple planters to grow MD2. For example, pineapple planters in Ghana have replaced the Smooth Cayenne varieties with MD2. Because MD2 has longer shelf-life of 30 days compared to 21 days for other varieties, it performs better in long-distance shipping. Prior to MD2, consumers outside the tropics had to consume mostly canned pineapples. With the arrival of MD2, these consumers can finally enjoy fresh pineapples. The introduction of MD2 to Malaysia started in 2008 when MPIB bought 100,000 suckers from the Philippines. Pineapple Technology Development Division (BPTN), a division of MPIB, was put in charge of planting the pioneer batch before releasing the cultivar for industrial planting. Initially, suckers were sold at RM2.50 per stalk but eventually the cost was brought down to its present level of RM1.70. To bring down the cost MPIB had to work out a scheme that required registered planters to provide two suckers in return for every sucker they received from MPIB.

This scheme made it possible to increase MPIB’s sucker stock exponentially and eventually to bring down the cost. The scheme commenced in 2012 with the involvement of 16 industrial planters in Peninsular Malaysia with a total area of 55 ha. Currently, the majority of MD2 growers are located in Johor. In Perak, MD2 is only planted in Pengkalan Pegoh. In other states such as Pulau Pinang, Kedah, Selangor, and Pahang, the planting of the first batches has just begun. Planting MD2 is similar to planting other pineapple cultivars in terms of site preparation, cultural practices, final harvesting, and propagation. However, there are some differences in relation to disease control and hormone application. MD2 is prone to bacterial heart rot which is caused by Erwinia chrysanthemi and fungal black rot by Thielavipos paradoxa. Bacterial heart rot of pineapples was first reported in 1957 in Malaysia. These diseases are also regarded as a serious disease by pineapple planters of other varieties around the world. Growers of MD2 are required to spray fungicide benomyl 50% in the first week after planting. Other fungicides to be used include copper hydroxide 77%, Mancozeb 80% and Thiram 80%. For hormone application with the objective of inducing flowering, a mixture of  chemical namely140 ml of Ethrel (2-Chloroethylphosphonic acid), 180 g of urea fertilizer, and 18 L of water should be prepared for spray application. 50 ml of the mixture should then be watered onto shoot tips. Hormone application is best carried out when the plants’ stomata are opened which is before 9am and after 5:30pm. It is a known fact that pineapple stomata close during daytime to prevent water loss.

When all best practices are diligently carried out, MD2 pineapples are ready for harvesting for export at around 142 to 150 days after flowers are first formed. Resulting from Del Monte’s highly successful introduction of MD2 from Costa Rica to the global market in 1996, MD2 has become the most popular fresh pineapple variety for now. Costa Rica is today’s largest world exporter of MD2 fresh pineapples while Thailand and the Philippines are the largest producers of pineapples for canned pineapple. The United States of America is the largest fresh pineapple importer, followed by the European Union, Japan, Canada and France. Malaysia’s current fresh pineapple export markets are Middle Eastern countries. However, Malaysia plans to start exporting fresh pineapples, particularly MD2, to China in 2015. China has placed a request of 100 containers on monthly basis, but Malaysia can only supply 10 containers monthly at present. MD2 has a weight range between 1.3kg and 2.5kg. There are three grades - A, B and C - based on the weight of the fruits. Grade A pineapples are more than 1.7kg which would be selling at RM 3.20 (or more) per fruit, and these are mainly for export. Grade B pineapples are between 1.3kg to 1.6kg and Grade C pineapples are below 1.3kg. At time of this writing, the price is RM2.40 for Grade B and RM1.50 for Grade C. These are average farm prices at growing sites in Perak. For Malaysia to acquire larger market share, and to meet the target production of 700,000 MT in 2020, both smallholders and industrial planters will need to play a critical role. For that, MPIB has set up the MD2 Pineapple Unit to provide technical and funding assistance, especially to smallholders. The unit is led by the Director General of MPIB and it aims to nurture 20 new growers every year. Each grower is expected to plant a minimum 10 acres of MD2. MPIB has set a target of 300 acres of MD2 planting for 2015. Area size is expected to reach 5,000 ha in 2020. At the end of 2014, 2,250 ha had been planted with MD2, an increment of 18% from 2013. Total production for 2014 was 412,720 MT. MPIB is determined to drive Malaysia into becoming, once again, a prominent pineapple producer. With MD2 as the new lead, the pineapple industry in the country is poised for a bright future. Thanks.
By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Bandar Baru UDA,
Johor Bahru, Johor,
Malaysia.
(5 Ramadan 1439H).

Sunday, September 9, 2018

SUPER SWEET MD2 PINEAPPLE IN MALAYSIA (Part 1)

PINEAAPPLE (Ananas comosus) is an important tropical fruit. It is the only important fruit crop in the family Bromeliaceae. Its importance is reflected in the ranking of commercial tropical fruits for production on a worldwide basis by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in which pineapple comes second after bananas. However, from once a major producer in the world in the 1970s, Malaysia has fallen to the 15th position based on 2014 data, according to the Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board (MPIB). Still, pineapple remains a major fruit crop in Malaysia, amongst other major fruit crops such as papaya, pomelo, banana, water melon, jackfruit, and mango (Department of Agriculture, 2013). MPIB is the major force for planning and boosting pineapple industrial planting and its downstream industry. “It is the resemblance to a pine cone which gives the fruit its Spanish name pina and the English name pineapple” (Purseglove, 1972). Pineapple is also recognized as one of the fifty plants that changed world history. It was ‘discovered’ in America as a cultivated plant by Christopher Columbus in 1492, who took specimens back to Europe. Subsequently the fruit was introduced to rest of the world by the Spanish and Portuguese via sea routes. It is now widely grown in the tropics and subtropics. One of its original native names in Brazil was nana, from which the scientific name Ananas and Malay name nanas have been derived. The date of introduction of the pineapple to Malaysia is unknown. From to I.H. Burkill we learn that tinned pineapples from Singapore were exhibited in London at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886 by J.F. Nicholson.

This led to the expansion of plantations in Malaya and the establishment of canneries in Penang, Johore and Selangor. Burkill listed nine cultivars grown in Malaya: they were Singapore, Mauritius, Red Spanish, Queen, Red Ripley, Black Jamaica, Pernambuco and Smooth Cayenne. Currently there are nine major pineapple varieties planted in Malaysia, namely Moris, N36, Sarawak, Moris Gajah, Gandul, Yankee, Josapine, Masapine and most recently MD2. Some of these cultivars such as N36 and Josapine were locally developed for the local fresh fruit market and have not been grown outside Malaysia. In 2012, the areas planted with pineapples in Malaysia totaled 15,649 ha, with total production estimated at 335,000 MT (metric tons). MPIB has projected that the supply of Malaysian the implementation agency by the Malaysian government. MD2 was developed to fulfill market demand for fresh pineapples with exceptional sweetness as well as uniformity and consistency in size and ripeness. Its development can be traced back to 1961 when the Pineapple Research Institute (PRI) in Hawaii was funded by a consortium of companies formed by Dole, Del Monte and Maui Pineapple Company to select and breed a new variety with such qualities. When PRI was dissolved in 1975, all developed hybrid seedlings were subsequently evaluated at Maui Pineapple Company. An exceptional hybrid selection “73- 114” was singled out from the project and it was later renamed MD2, in honour of Millie Dillard, the wife of the then General Manager of the pineapple company. MD2 was taken to Costa Rica for the first trial industrial planting in the 1980s. MD2 is known by its trade names as “Golden Ripe”, “Super Sweet”, "Rompine" or “Gold”. MD2 PINEAPPLE MD2 pineapple covered to prrevent sun scorching for their skin is thinner than other varieties pineapple will increase from 350,000 MT in 2013 to 700,000 MT in 2020. The expected plantation area to support this production volume is expected to be around 23,000 ha. Of the nine cultivars, MPIB has chosen to promote the MD2 variety for industrial planting.

MD2 has been identified as a key crop under the National Key Economic Area (NKEA) of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). With regard to agriculture, NKEA’s key objectives are to penetrate global markets and to ensure national food security. 16 Entry Point Projects (EPPs) and 11 business opportunities have been planned and carried out to achieve these objectives. The MD2 cultivar has been identified as EPP7’s catalyst for the premium fruit market. The MD2 cultivar is also positioned as the key crop under the Dasar Agromakanan Negara (DAN) 2011–2020 policy with the same objectives as EPP 7. With an allocation of RM45 million budget, MPIB is tasked as the implementation agency by the Malaysian government. MD2 was developed to fulfill market demand for fresh pineapples with exceptional sweetness as well as uniformity and consistency in size and ripeness. Its development can be traced back to 1961 when the Pineapple Research Institute (PRI) in Hawaii was funded by a consortium of companies formed by Dole, Del Monte and Maui Pineapple Company to select and breed a new variety with such qualities. When PRI was dissolved in 1975, all developed hybrid seedlings were subsequently evaluated at Maui Pineapple Company. An exceptional hybrid selection “73- 114” was singled out from the project and it was later renamed MD2, in honour of Millie Dillard, the wife of the then General Manager of the pineapple company. MD2 was taken to Costa Rica for the first trial industrial planting in the 1980s. To be continue in Part 2. Thanks.
By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Bandar Baru UDA,
Johor BAhru,
Johor, Malaysia.
(5 Ramadan 1439H).

Monday, September 3, 2018

FOOD SAFETY TIPS on Sauropus androgynus

CEKUR MANIS or ASIN-ASIN (Sauropus androgynus) known in Malaysia actually is a wild vegetable native to most Southeast Asian countries. It was introduced into Taiwan and Mainland in earlier years. Its dark green leaves were reported to have various nutritive value and were commonly used and consumed in Malaysia. When the plant was marketed in Taiwan, it was regarded as a delicacy in restaurants. It was subsequently used for weight reduction purpose and was consumed in the form of vegetable juice (with or without blending with other juices such as apple juice, honey, milk, etc), salad or cooked vegetables. Recently in the Mainland, it was reported by the media that Sauropus androgynus, (marketed under the name of "天綠香") was available for sale in vegetable markets, supermarkets and shops, and that a fast-food restaurant chain was serving a kind of soup with Sauropus androgynus ("天綠香") as one of the ingredients. However, Sauropus androgynus caused a food incident in Taiwan, which indicated that the consumption of large amount of this plant (especially in the uncooked state) resulted in insomnia, poor appetite, difficulties in breathing and occurrence of bronchiolitis obliterans (a severe form of lung disease). As a result, the plant was banned for human consumption. Recently in October 2005, the South China Agricultural University reported their results of an animal toxicity study on oral ingestion of wild vegetables and raised safety concerns on the use of Sauropus androgynus as food. This article in ''Anim Agriculture Technology'' I would like to share some info about food safety tips on this Cekur Manis.

A report in Hong Kong shows that the consumption of Sauropus androgynus, if any, is uncommon. Nevertheless, the public are advised to note the following food safety tips :
Do not pick wild herbs for consumption;
Avoid prolonged and regular consumption of "天綠香" in large amount. Avoid consuming the uncooked "天綠香" including the juice of this vegetable. From the report you should had some info about the significant of this vegetable. In Malaysia this vege are popular to improve the health especially for urination problem of the old folks. Thanks.
By,
M Anem,
Senior agronomist,
Bandar Baru UD,
Johor Bahru, Johor,
Malaysia.
(3 September 2018).

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

SARAWAK SET TO BE PINEAPPLE EXPORT HUB

Sarawak farmers in Malaysia will no longer be facing problem to plant premium export quality MD2 pineapple soon as the government has resolved the seedling shortage issue. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas told the media here yesterday that industry players are now allowed to bring in the suckers as the government has reviewed its policy on the matter. “For Sarawak we have resolved the issue. Initially we cannot bring in the suckers, but now we can. Our strategy will be to look for farmers who can produce planting materials for the next one or two years,” Uggah told reporters when launching a pilot Premium Pineapple Farm at Kampung Padang Pan, near here. Earlier in his speech, Uggah who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development revealed that MD2 pineapple farmers will be able to earn up to RM5,000 per month. Uggah told the audience that he was very surprised to see pineapples being planted at such a steep gradient via the project and praised Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Datuk Anthony Nogeh for taking such a brave approach in MOA effort to boost rural farmers’ income.

This pioneer premium pineapple project will determine the future direction of Sarawak pineapple industry. For a start the initial stage government will plant four hectares of land with an allocation of RM300,000 and this pilot farm will become as a nursery to further development of a total area of 129 hectares. “In the past, pineapples are linked to peat soil but today this project shows us that it can be planted in hilly area on mass scale, this definitely will increase the acreage of land feasible for pineapple projects,” Uggah added. If all go as planned, Malaysia Pineapple Industry Board (MPIB) predicted that Sarawak will become Malaysia’s pineapple hub soon due to the state’s strategic location with the world’s largest market – China. “By 2020 Sarawak is expected to become MD2 hub to China exporting about 100 containers valued at RM6 million per month,” he said, adding that China recently has approved the import of pineapple from Malaysia.


Uggah stressed that Sarawak is very serious about developing its pineapple industry as Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg recently had approved RM10 million to build infrastructure for pineapple planting in Beting Maro state constituency. The Deputy Chief Minister took a swipe at MPIB for neglecting Sarawak in the past, and seemed to indicate it would be giving less than RM25 million promised to Sarawak under the 11th Malaysia Plan. “They give us RM3 million previous year and RM3 million last year. I told them mathematically this is not right because RM3 million a year in 5 years will not come to RM25 million they promised us. I am very happy this year they will give us RM6.5 million,” Uggah jibed, to laughter of the audience. Uggah also praised Nogeh for convincing him to work with the private sector to develop pineapple and durian industry in Sarawak, and took the trouble to introduce big players in Peninsular Malaysia who have the market in China and experience in downstream durian processing for export.

Meanwhile, Nogeh who spoke earlier revealed that his ministry would import MD2 suckers from a neighbouring country if the need arises as Sarawak raced to open up more pineapple plantation due do great demand. “For the immediate requirement, Malaysia Pineapple Industry Board will look into the possibility of importing from the Philippines – the MD2 suckers,” Nogeh said. Nogeh added the volume imported would depend very much on the request by Sarawak government. The deputy minister took pain to explain the difficulty faced by his team to introduce MD2 pineapple to Sarawak due to certain policy. “When we first wanted to start MD2 in Sarawak, there were a lot of obstacles. My first task was to bring the Agriculture Department Director and his officers to listen to briefing from MPIB and visit pineapple farm in Johor. Initially we were not allowed to bring in suckers for fear they will bring in disease so we buy tissue culture from a company in Buso, Bau and Pahang.

I would like to thank Agriculture Ministry Sarawak for allowing this pilot project, and this is the beginning for Sarawak to play a big role in the pineapple industry because as far as Sabah is concerned, they did not accept Pineapple Industry Act and as a result MPIB cannot operate in Sabah, so how they will regulate the industry we don’t know. Whereas here in Sarawak, I am very grateful to Sarawak government for allowing MPIB to come in and set up office here and help the rakyat,” Nogeh said. He explained MD2 was chosen because the variety is commanding very high demand and Malaysia have exported it to Europe, Middle East and recently to China. “Protocol have been signed with China, our Minister have signed agreement with China and they welcome our MD2 pineapple now. Several companies are sending the fruits to China now but is still not enough. China is also importing from Philippines and Costa Rica, but Costa Rica is three times the distance from Malaysia, we have the geographical location advantage,” he added. Nogeh said the pineapple planted in Kampung Padang Pan will be multiplied as a source of seedlings for Sarawak farmers from other areas. This news are adapted from a posted article from Borneo Post recently. 

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Room 1226, Hotel Hilton,
Kuching, Sarawak,
Malaysia.
(3 Ramadan 1439H).