Sarawak exploring turning pineapple waste into fertiliser to boost agriculture self-sufficiency

Abang Johari (fourth left) together with other distinguished guests checking out the premium pineapple after launching the Sarawak Agrofest 2023 on Sept 22, 2023.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Sept 22: Sarawak is actively exploring the production of fertilisers from various waste sources, including pineapple waste such as its skins, cores and crowns, in order to reduce reliance on costly imports, especially for the agriculture sector.

Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said he had tasked i-CATS University College to conduct research aimed at enabling Sarawak to manufacture its own fertilisers.

“Don’t import anymore. It is too expensive.

“Look at the many pineapples here. A large part of the pineapple, especially the peels, cores and crowns will end in the garbage but these wastes could instead be utilised to make fertilisers. The same potential exists for coconut fronds (whole leaf),” he said when officiating at the Sarawak Agrofest 2023 held at Celebration Square, Petra Jaya here today.

He mentioned that the Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) has also been urged to engage in fertiliser production.

Abang Johari checking out some of the local products during a tour around the expo area of Sarawak Agrofest 2023 on Sept 22, 2023.

Touching on animal feedstock, Abang Johari pointed out that a trial conducted in Kampung Engkabak has shown positive results, where goats were efficiently fattened within just in four weeks.

“As such, I have asked the university (involved in conducting research and producing animal feedstock) to establish a lab to transfer the knowledge and technology through a certification programme.

“These efforts are to elevate the value of our waste. This is similar to Craun doing a research in Mukah to turn sago waste which makes up huge biomass and transformed into methane gas for use of heat or electricity generation for cooking,” he elaborated.

Abang Johari emphasised the necessity of innovative and technology-based approaches to reshape Sarawak’s agriculture landscape into a food-based economy.

He cautioned against over-reliance on imports, which could hinder the growth of the entire agriculture and food industry in Sarawak, especially considering the adverse impact of a depreciating Malaysia currency that had led to the increase in the price and cost of raw materials.

“In the past, we import maize as animal feed for chicken. How much is the price? If we (Sarawak) can produce our own animal feed, the chicken can be fattened,” he said, in stressing the importance to ensure sustainability of Sarawak’s agriculture and food industry sector.

Among those in attendance were Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Sarawak Minister of Food Industry, Commodity, and Regional Development Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Minister in the Premier’s Department Datuk John Sikie Tayai, former Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang, Deputy Minister of Food Industry, Commodity, and Regional Development (Food Industry) Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail, Deputy Minister of Food Industry, Commodity, and Regional Development (Commodity and Regional Development) Maclaine@Martin Ben, and M-FICORD permanent secretary Sirai Daha. — DayakDaily