KOTA SAMARAHAN: Malaysia recorded pineapple exports valued at RM161mil last year and targets to increase this to RM254mil by 2020. Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board (MPIB) chairman Datuk Samsolbari Jamali said to achieve the goal, the Government had planned to increase the pineapple plantation acreage by 7,120ha by 2020. “The plan to increase the country’s pineapple production is to meet market demand and high-value agricultural development. “The pineapple industry plays an important role in meeting the growing demand for fresh fruits and agro-based industry. “Hence, developing and strengthening pineapple cultivation in Sarawak is necessary to assist in accommodating the market demand globally with the addition of 100 containers per month,” he said. He said this in his speech at the launch of Sarawak Pineapple Plantation Census officiated by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas in Kota Samarahan on Monday. A total of 719 pineapple entrepreneurs in the state are involved in the census beginning Monday until Sept 30. Samsolbari said Sarawak recorded the largest pineapple plantation areas after Johor with 1,805ha currently. “MPIB targets a higher increase in productivity by 2020, that is, at 45 tonnes per ha with the optimisation of land use,” he said. Meanwhile, Uggah who is also state Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture and Rural Economy, in his speech outlined four main requirements to empower the pineapple industry in Sarawak. “These are quality seedlings, research as well as technology transfer to the state, creating downstream industries and good marketing system. “As the second largest pineapple producer, we strongly encourage MPIB to assist Sarawak in this endeavour,” he said. - Bernama
By, M Anem, Senior Agronomist, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.