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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Jan 8: David Disam, 53, a budding agropreneur from Bau is on cloud nine after receiving his Malaysian Good Practice Agriculture Practices (myGAP) certification from the Ministry of Agriculture (DoA).
He may be one of the earliest recipients in Sarawak who has gotten the myGAP certification in pineapple planting which facilitates the export of pineapples overseas.
Currently, he has 319 acres of land in Padang Pan, Bau for pineapple cultivation, 100 acres of which has been producing between 20,000 to 30,000 fruits per month.
“Of course, I’m very happy because it is the result of three years of hard work. And I’m also very satisfied with the government of both state and federal officers who have assisted me. This certificate will open the doors of success for anybody, not only myself, in the near future.
“So, with this certificate, we can work together to export our pineapples,” Disam told DayakDaily yesterday.
He said the certificate was issued by MoA Putra Jaya in collaboration with the State DoA.
Disam disclosed that in order to expand his production, Disam planned to get other land owners in Bau, Lundu, Serian, Padawan and Penrissen to form a joint venture to cultivate between 6,000 to 8,000 acres of land with pineapples in the next five years.
“The first step is to get more villagers to get involved and be my production partner. For example, in Bau District, there are 100 villages and in one village there are ten families to participate, so I will have 1,000 participants. So, if we assume each landowner has five acres, then we will have 5,000 acres.
“But my target in the next five year is 8,000 acres in order to produce a much higher volume to meet increasing demand,” he stressed.
Disam said one of his main challenges now was to produce pineapple suckers or seedlings which are currently limited.
“Initially, my farm was started to produce suckers for the state. Even now, besides producing the pineapple fruits, we are also producing suckers which are for sale at RM2.50 each,” he said, adding that he may have to reduce the price of each seedling in near future with increasing demand.
However, he said he would not be able to sell his pineapples overseas yet as he wanted to established his brand name in the local market.
“At least in the next one to two years, I will let the people try and taste it and also to get their interest to plant with me,” he said.
Disam also highlighted his hope for the state government to assist him in getting his land titled.
“If I can get my land titled, then I will have no worry to get loans from the bank,” he said.
On manpower, Disam said that unlike other agriculture activities, he had no problem as nearby villagers, especially from Padang Pan, Kampung Gumbang and Kampung Opar, were willing to work with him.
Currently, he employs 20 full-time and 10 part-time workers.
Disam, who started his pineapple cultivation in 2017, produced his first harvest in January last year. Since two months ago, he has also been producing pineapple juice for the local market.
Meanwhile Disam said he was looking at Thailand’s pineapple cultivation model through its ‘contract-farming’ concept, whereby local farmers combined their efforts in order to have shared profits. —DayakDaily