KUCHING: Malaysia is the fifth largest pepper producing country in the world with a total production of 29,245 metric tonnes in 2016.
Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Datu Nasrun Datu Mansur said this figure is an increase of 3.3 per cent compared to 2015 which saw a production of 28,300 metric tonnes.
“In 2016, the world’s leading pepper producing countries were spearheaded by Vietnam with a total production of 140,000 metric tonnes followed by Indonesia (70,000 metric tonnes), India (48,500 metric tonnes) and Brazil (45,000 metric tonnes),” he said at the Malaysian Pepper Board (MPB) Outstanding Service Award held at a leading hotel here yesterday.
According to him, pepper plantations in the country are cultivated by around 67,304 pepper smallholders, with 95 per cent cultivated by the Bumiputera community.
“Malaysia’s fifth ranking as the world’s largest pepper producing countries would have been impossible without the involvement of policies and comprehensive programmes for the development of the our pepper industry.”
However, Datu Nasrun noted that the export of pepper in 2016 showed a decrease of 4.6 per cent of its value export to RM490.2 million (12,199 metric tonnes) compared to RM513.9 million in 2015.
“This is due to the unexpected high volume of pepper production in Vietnam,” he said, adding presently, pepper is mainly imported by Japan with an import value of RM142.9 million followed by South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and China.
In view of this, Datu Nasrun said the government in its efforts to develop the country’s pepper industry has come up with three initiatives to improve the income of pepper smallholders through MPB, namely the New Pepper Plantation Scheme, Farm Level Quality Improvement Scheme, and Sectional Entrepreneur and Sales & Purchase Entrepreneur Scheme.
“For this purpose, a grant of RM16.8 million has been allocated by the federal government to implement these assistance schemes in Sarawak for the years 2016 and 2017.”
On the MPB Outstanding Service Award, Datu Nasrun hoped the recognition would motivate MPB staff to maintain their outstanding performance, high commitment and capability to make improvements for the excellence of MPB.
“This recognition should also establish healthy competition among MPB staff to prove their respective capabilities in ensuring that only the best service is given to their target groups,” he said.
Meanwhile, MPB chairman Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom said the award ceremony is an annual event by MPB to provide recognition of and appreciation towards excellence shown by MPB staff in carrying out their responsibilities.
“I hope that this outstanding performance can be maintained and further improved for the benefit of the agency,” he said.
Datu Nasrun and Mawan presented awards to 55 MPB staff during the ceremony where 25 received the Outstanding Service Award for their outstanding performance in service in the year 2016.
Another 30 MPB staff received the Loyal Service Award for their loyal service for the past 25 years and above in the pepper industry.
Also present were Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities secretary-general Datuk M Nagarajan and MPB director-general Dr Harry Entebang.