SDMC to work out mechanism to help sell durians from farms in Covid-19 lockdown areas

Uggah (second left) with Dr Chai (first right) exchanging pleasanties with a farmer selling his durian at Top Fruit CPPC.

KUCHING, Aug 22: The State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) will work out a mechanism to help market durians from farms in areas under Covid-19 lockdown.

Its chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said he would discuss working out a suitable plan with the respective Divisional Health Departments.

“We have to work out an arrangement to help the affected farmers (sell their crops). Durian is a perishable fruit and must be collected as soon as possible.

“However it has not been a bumper season for the fruit here (because of Covid-19 pandemic) but Top Fruit (Sarawak Sdn Bhd) will continue to buy whatever is available,” he said after visiting the durian Collecting, Processing and Packaging Centre (CPPC) in Tarat here today.

Uggah, who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development (Manred), said Top Fruit as the Tarat CPPC had spent about RM1.14 million in 2019 to buy an estimated total of 670 metric tonnes of fresh durians from local farmers in Bau, Serian, Padawan and Siburan.

He noted that Top Fruit which is also an anchor company specialising in fresh durian fruit and frozen durian paste processing for overseas exports had also successfully exported about 122 metric tonnes of durian paste and pulps worth RM2.28 million.

Stressing the importance of such centres as part of the State government’s effort to transform Sarawak into a net agro-food exporter by 2030, Uggah said more CPPCs will be established under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).

“They would meet international food safety, quality and sustainability standards like the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).

“We now have five other CPPCs in various stages of implementation. In Limbang Division, we have one in Lawas and one in Limbang district for dried fruit processing.

“CPPC Lawas is completed and will be handed over to the Agriculture Department soon. The Limbang CPPC is in the midst of completion too,” he said, adding that CPPCs for Layar, Long Lama and Kapit are currently at planning stages.

Among those accompanying Uggah at the work visit were Manred permanent secretary Edwin Abit, Agriculture Department director Dr Alvin Chai and Top Fruits Sarawak director Chong Yie Long. — DayakDaily