KUCHING, Oct 4: The Malaysia Fruit Farmers Association (MFFA) will collaborate with the state Agriculture Department to help smallholder fruit farmers develop their farming through expertise sharing and networking with foreign market.
The collaboration will be in the form of a joint coordinating committee that will be chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who is also the state Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Minister.
“The committee will study proposals by association members on their possible participation in the state’s agriculture sector.
“MFFA members could bring their long experiences, knowledge and technical expertise, and at the same time, share their excellent marketing ties with important big markets like China, Singapore and Taiwan,” Uggah said in a statement following a meeting with MFFA, here, today.
He reiterated that the state agriculture sector is focussing on efforts to turn Sarawak in a food producer and net exporter by 2030. The state government has identified an estimated 2 million hectares statewide for modern agriculture development.
“We will conduct studies to identify the soil types and the best crop for each type of soil. We certainly welcome the association participation,” he said.
Uggah pointed out that with some 250,000 smallholders in the state, his ministry would want them to go into modern and commercial agriculture, instead of traditionally producing only for their own consumption.
“We are now focussing on planting pineapple, banana, coconut, maize, mangosteen, rambutan, local durian and even the unique dabai.
“We plan to set up more anchor companies, more Collection, Processing and Packaging Centres (CPPC) in the state, in order to buy from them besides enhancing their modern farming knowledge,” he said.
MFFA president Hong Jok Hon said the association has 12 branches and most of its 2,200 members were big time fruit farmers in the country.
He said they were ready to help local smallholders with their experience in processing, manufacturing and planting technology.
“We also have the market in countries like China, Taiwan, Singapore and soon, the Middle East,” said Hong.
MFFA vice-chairman Dato Chong Yew Chee said Sarawak is now the new frontier for fruit farming with its vast fertile land and being free from plant diseases.
Apart from farming, he said that his niche was in organising agricultural exhibitions., where Chong had organised 38 exhibitions throughout China including the famous Canton Fair.
“We can promote Sarawak products to wider markets worldwide in such exhibitions,” said Chong. — DayakDaily