New pepper processing machine to give boost to Betong pepper farmers

Uggah (green shirt) accompanied by Layar assemblyman Gerald Rentap Jabu (second left) releasing tengadak fry into the Sungai Nyelutong river to launch the "tagang" (aquatic life conservation programme) for Rh Jambai.

KUCHING, Aug 16: Pepper farmers in Betong will have their efforts boosted by a pepper processing machine that will be installed at the Farmers’ Organisation Office.

Revealing this in a statement today, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah highlighted that the office at the Divisional Agriculture Office in Betong is being upgraded for the purpose and the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development (Manred) would supply the machine.

“Betong is one of the state’sbiggest producers of the commodity and many here are still maintaining their farms despite the low market price now. This is good for the industry because the Farmer’s Organisation in the area will buy the pepper at reasonable prices even when the market price is low.

“It will process and pack the pepper using modern technology to enhance its export to Singapore and European countries, and I have also decided for my ministry to subsidise each farming family here with a RM2,000.00 worth of fertiliser this year.

“Although it may not be sufficient, but it will help them to reduce the maintenance cost. This is one of the ways for the government to help the local farmers,” he disclosed when officiating at the state Agriculture Department Community Extension Outreach Programme at Rh Jambai Bunsi in Kerapa, Spak, here today.

Uggah (green shirt), watched by former deputy chief minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang (grey shirt) and others, receives a handicraft gift from Tr Jambai (red vest), The women of this 44-door longhouse have been recognised by Unesco for their skill in creating handicrafts.

Touching on rubber cultivation, Uggah revealed the division had not less than 1,300 hectares planted with the crop and believed that the old trees which are no longer productive can be a new source of income.

“”We can fell the trees for rubber wood to be used in our furniture industry.

“There is a company interested. I need to discuss with our Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to get his consent,” he added. — DayakDaily