Need to expand pepper industry as many choosing to work with oil palm instead, asserts Dr Rundi

Dr Rundi (second right) conversing with ministers and officers before the signing of the licence agreement today (Nov 21, 2022).

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By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Nov 21: There is a need to expand the pepper industry due to the number of people who prefer to work in the oil palm industry rather than pepper, says the Minister for Food Industry, Commodity, and Regional Development (M-FICORD) Sarawak Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom.

Dr Rundi told reporters this following the signing of a licence agreement between the Sarawak government represented by the Department of Agriculture Sarawak and the Saribas Area Farmers’ Organisation, and the signing of an agreement between the Saribas Area Farmers’ Organisation with Carus Pepper Sdn Bhd, which was held at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) complex here today.

“This is a very important event for us because the premium pepper, white pepper, and black pepper industries need to grow.

“People aren’t interested in pepper because they prefer oil palm, so we’re trying to diversify our crops,” he said.

In order to guarantee the market, he said, a complete supply chain is required, including food security that includes paddy, crops, and livestock.

“The government must therefore consider how to establish a comprehensive supply chain for other crops, including pepper, rubber, coconut, pineapple, and the rest.

“With our new strategy, we can develop a food terminal, and I believe we are moving in this direction to advance the industry.

“I want to have this community to develop the industry and become a net food exporter by 2030,” he added.

Furthermore, Dr Rundi emphasised that one of the thrusts of Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030 is agriculture.

“I believe that once agricultural products are fully commercialised, we can turn the industry into a profitable one,” he noted, adding the youths will also be enticed to venture into the farming industry.

“I told the young people who returned from universities that when they return to Sarawak, they should not just earn money but make money, and one of the ways to do so is through modern farming, IoT (Internet of Things), and smart farming, which I believe is where we are headed,” Dr Rundi remarked. — DayakDaily