PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Pepper Board (MPB) recently organised a special discussion with top officials of the Vietnam Pepper Association (VPA) in Ho Chi Minh City on Oct 2 as part of an economic mission by the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) to Vietnam.
The discussion was chaired by the Malaysian Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, accompanied by MPB director general Dr Harry Entebang.
The dialogue session was attended by VPA vice-chairwoman and secretary general Nguyen Mai Oanh, vice-chairman Phan Minh Thing, International Pepper Community (IPC) executive director Hoang Thi Lien, VPA executive board member Dr Bui Chi Buu and other top officials.
During the discussion, Mah praised VPA for their dedication and commitment in developing Vietnam’s pepper industry to become the world‘s number one even without any financial assistance from the government.
He highlighted that pepper farmers in Malaysia have a lot to learn from pepper farmers in Vietnam, especially in terms of farm management and mechanisation.
In addition, Mah also suggested for IPC to play a greater role in protecting the interest of other producing countries which include Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka to ensure the industry will remain sustainable in the future.
Meanwhile, VPA pointed out that they have benefited from the agricultural policy of the Vietnam government where the focus has been on several key commodities like pepper, coffee, cocoa and rubber.
Pepper farmers in Vietnam are hardworking and each pepper farmer owns approximately 1 hectare. These farmers are supported by agricultural based financing mechanisms provided by local banks.
In addition, VPA also praised Malaysia for producing world-class quality pepper and highlighted that members of VPA have clients/buyers from Europe and USA who placed orders for Sarawak Pepper from them on a continuous basis.
VPA also expressed their keen interest to collaborate with the Malaysian government via MPB on quality pepper production and certification.
On Oct 3 in Hanoi, a bilateral meeting was held between Mah and his counterpart H.E. Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development where both ministers furthered strengthen their commitment toward better strategic collaboration in the areas of productivity and agricultural technology.
In this regard, for the pepper industry, Nguyen extended an invitation to MPB to have working visits to Vietnam to strengthen the collaboration between both countries.
Globally branded as Sarawak Pepper, Malaysia exported nearly RM500 million worth for 2016 to Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, plus some European countries.
Mah reiterated that as an agency which is solely responsible for quality pepper production and certification in the country, equipped with a state of the art laboratory which is MS ISO 9001:2015 accredited, the Malaysian government through MPB will continue to ensure that every pepper product that is produced, packed and exported has undergone stringent cleaning, is graded according to an international quality standard and certified for low pesticide residue levels. — Bernama