SERIAN, May 2: Sarawak has successfully exported 30 tonnes of durian paste to China last year and 100 tonnes so far this year.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said through anchor company Top Fruit Sdn Bhd, the government had been able to export the paste.
“There is still a great demand from China for our durians. We are now going into the ‘Musang King’ variety because of its great popularity and very good market price” he said at the closing of a basic Musang King durian planting course at Kampung Pichin community hall here today.
He told the 600 local farmers who took part in the course that Top Fruit had markets in seven countries for this variety.
“It has processing plants that are internationally certified by these countries, including China. This is not an easy thing to accomplish.
“On the other hand, Fama (Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority) has 31 processing centres that are also internationally certified,” said Uggah, who is also the Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development.
Uggah also announced that a sum of RM18 million had been set aside to further develop and strengthen the durian industry sector in Sarawak under the government’s crop diversification programme.
“We want to avoid a situation where our farmers continue to just depend on oil palm or pepper or rubber alone as these commodities are often subjected to price fluctuations in the market. When the price drop, they will be negatively impacted.
“We want them to continue to enjoy good income from their endeavour and from their crops by diversifying,” he explained.
Uggah said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg wanted the farmers to diversify by growing Musang King durian, pineapple, banana or coconut, which have very good demand.
“They should not fear not having the market for any bountiful season as we will look for the market for them. The Agriculture Department will collaborate with Fama and some anchor companies on this,” he assured.
Uggah said the Sarawak government was in the process of refurbishing an Agriculture Department property in Tarat as a collecting, processing and packaging centre (CPPC) at the cost of RM1.8 million.
“Then we can process durian and other seasonal fruits there when it is ready within this year,” he said.
He commended Fama also for its initiative to set up a RM600,000 CPPC for durians in Kota Samarahan.
He also commended the proposal by durian farmers to set up an association to represent them.
“I welcome this move. Let us all work together in this industry. I would also like our farmers to continue to take good care of their durian trees to ensure a good harvest comes the season again.
“Let us try to produce premium fruits so that we can compete against other agricultural products exporting countries in the region, like Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia,” he said.
On the course, he hoped Fama would organise it in various other places in Sarawak. — DayakDaily