R&D can unlock potential for Sarawak gula apong in food industry, says CM

Abang Johari (fourth right) with Tegas Board of Trustees members (from right) Rentap, Snowdan, Dr Jerip, Len Talif, Abdullah, Dr Hazland and Abdul Yakub having a photo after the site visit. Photo Credit: Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas).

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By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, Sept 2: Gula apong produced from the nipah or palm tree in Sarawak can be used to make many byproducts including sweeteners to enhance the taste of food.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is confident that gula apong produced by local farms are of good quality and suitable for export.

“Through the exercise to discover more products, there are a lot of things that can be produced from the products from our farms.

“Just with the example of nipah, whereby it grows along the mangrove areas, and there are a lot of byproducts from nipah.

“Now, we have a new technology whereby we use the extrusion system inserting a stick and then the sap will come out and we collect it.

“That one is made into gula apong and it is of quality, and once filtered it can infuse apong flavour into our cookies, ice-cream and a wide range food,” he said during a press conference after visiting the Tabung Ekonomi Gagasan Anak Sarawak (Tegas) Digital Village at Sama Jaya High Tech Park here today.

Thus, Abang Johari said rural farmers and entrepreneurs can explore new product development through smart agriculture devices to increase their produce yield and quality at Tegas Digital Village (TGV) and at the same time grow their businesses and increase their income.

He is confident that Sarawak will achieve high income economic status by 2030 through technology and zero wastage.

Abang Johari said entrepreneurs and farmers can develop products in the (innovation) hub where these products can be processed and improved in laboratories.

“We will increase the yield as well as quality of products produced from our rural areas.

“Through smart agriculture and the management of smart farms, they can explore the possibility to enhance and improve the process involved,” he added.

Abang Johari said the TDV is linked to various hubs in Sarawak such as in Sarikei, Sibu and Miri which serve as incubator systems to help rural entrepreneurs develop their products.

He added TDV is also a test lab equipped with the latest equipment which will assist entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

He noted that TDV can also serve as a work station as it is equipped with the latest devices for entrepreneurs to connect with each other.

Among those accompanying Abang Johari on his site visit to TDV were Tegas chairman Datu Len Talif Salleh and members of the Tegas Board of Trustees including Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, Datuk Snowdan Lawan, Abdullah Saidol, Dr Hazland Abang Hipni, Abdul Yakub Arbi, Gerald Rentap Jabu, Tegas chief operating officer Awangku Merali Pengiran Mohamed, TDV’s general manager Manzoor Hayat Khan and members of the TDV management team. — DayakDaily