KUCHING: Malaysian Pepper Board (MPB) is calling all pepper growers in the Sri Aman division to join the first ever ‘Jom Tanam Lada’ (Let’s Plant Pepper) Sarawak roadshow at the Sri Aman Civic Centre today to explore ways to tap into this growing industry.
The programme from 8am to 1pm is expected to be launched by deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities minister Datuk Datu Nasrun Datu Mansur.
MPB director-general Dr Harry Entebang pointed out that the global demand for pepper has continued to exceed supply in recent years.
“So we need to make the best out of this opportunity and Sri Aman has great potential to develop pepper plantations due to the soil, structure and availability of land. It is a sector with potential for further growth,” he told The Borneo Post when met at his office at Pending here yesterday.
“Moreover, the state government has allocated RM10 million for new pepper planting in Sarawak.
This is the first ever initiative by the Sarawak government since the establishment of MPB,” he said.
Given the shortage and high demand for pepper worldwide, MPB wants to attract more potential farmers including the private sector and young people to go into pepper planting and help boost the industry as well as the economy.
The main goal of the Let’s Plant Pepper programme, which is in line with the National Commodity Policy, is to increase farmers’ income by increasing production or yield.
“We want farmers and the industry to remain competitive, meaning they have to be good at what they do. So growers need to produce high quality pepper to fetch a good price as well as for the export market,” he added.
With existing federal allocation and assistance from state government, Harry was confident that Sarawak could see crop expansion of more than 1,000 hectares this year.
MPB, Harry elaborated, was also looking at introducing the Sarawak pepper planting model to other states in Malaysia where suitable.
“We will discuss and propose the model to the states interested to develop pepper plantations and the state government can provide similar assistance to the growers,” he said.
In Sarawak, the Let’s Plant Pepper roadshow will kick off in Sri Aman before proceeding to Betong, Sungai Asap and Miri.
MPB will also take the roadshow to Sabah and certain states in Peninsular Malaysia.
Among the programme’s highlights are rewarding top producers, distributing government aid for pepper planters, technical talks and selling of Sara Spice pepper products.