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Sabah can be No 2 pepper state
Published on: Saturday, June 22, 2024
By: Crystal E Hermenegildus
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Sabah can be No 2 pepper state
Chan poses with the 30 participants of the course.
Kota Kinabalu: Sabah has potential to become the second largest producer of pepper in Malaysia after Sarawak, said Plantation and Commodities Deputy Minister Datuk Chan Foong Hin.

He said Sabah’s terrain is very similar to Sarawak’s, making it highly suitable for the cultivation of pepper which thrives in hilly areas with a good drainage system.

“For example, Penampang and Papar have a topography and soil type (laterite hill soil) suitable for pepper cultivation with a high annual rainfall of 4,446mm.

“The strategic position of Sabah, as a main route for national tourists, ensures that pepper is a commodity that Sabahans should focus on,” Chan said.

He said compared to other commodities, pepper cultivation do not require a large area. 

This provides an opportunity for locals who do not have large lands to start cultivating pepper.

“At the same time, pepper can be stored for a long time and is non-perishable, unlike most other commodities.” 

Chan said according to data obtained from the Malaysia Pepper Board (MPB) E-Growing System, Sabah has a total of 336 pepper growers, with a combined pepper cultivation area of 49.88 hectares. 

Of these, Keningau is the main pepper growing area in the State with 8.62 hectares, followed by Kota Marudu with 6.84 hectares and Tambunan with 6.59 hectares.

“This indicates that the potential of pepper cultivation in Sabah has not yet been fully explored. 

“Thus, the advantages should be fully capitalised to develop Sabah as a major pepper growing area to boost the agriculture and plantation sectors in the State,” he said, after the Closing Ceremony of the Pepper Production Technology Course (KTPL) Series 8, organised by MPB, at Sky Hotel, here, Friday.

A total of 40 farmers from various districts attended the three-day course.

The Pepper Production Technology Course (KTPL) is a short-term training programme implemented by MPB under the Upstream Development Programme for the Pepper Industry (PPHIL) and coordinated with the Institute of Plantation and Commodities (IMPAC) to produce trained and dynamic pepper planter human capital, in line with changing standards and the global economy.

Chan said the way to attract the interest of the public, especially youths, in pepper cultivation is through the adoption of the latest technology.

“Through the development of fertigation plots using Internet of Things (IOT) and hyperspectral technology that is currently being carried out at the MPB field research station in Semenggok, Kuching, an increase in pepper crop productivity of around 20 per cent to pepper yield is expected to be achieved,” he said.

Chan said the development of Dr Lada, NutriLada and LadaGo mobile applications by MPB can help pepper growers maintain their gardens and crops more easily.

“The Government also continues to provide subsidies and incentives for the pepper plant scheme to eligible growers through the New Pepper Plant Scheme (STLB) and the Mature Pepper Plant Scheme (STLM),” he said.

Throughout the implementation under the 12th Malaysian Plan (RMke-12) from 2021 until now, MPB has successfully held a total of 4,143 programme sessions under the human capital development of the pepper upstream sector, involving a total of 3,611 participants.

Under the same plan, Chan said the Government has spent a total of RM25.3 million to help a total of 4,914 pepper growers who cultivate 675.7 hectares of pepper crops through the STLB New Pepper Plant Scheme.

A total of RM24.4 million was also spent on giving the STLM to a total of 8,257 pepper growers who managed to cultivate an area of 1,376.4 hectares of pepper plants throughout Malaysia.

Chan, who is also the Member of Parliament for Kota Kinabalu, said he had a meeting with Mayor Datuk Dr Sabin Samitah to discuss issues under his jurisdiction.

He said the issues discussed included the use of plastic bags in the city that will be banned starting August, the city landscape, establishing digital parking in the near future and the collection of used cooking oil.

“Basically, the whole concept is that we need to move towards more environmentally friendly and sustainable plans,” he said.

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Keywords:
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