SERIAN, Aug 23 — The State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) will work out a mechanism to help durian farmers in areas under Covid-19 lockdown to market their fruits which are in season now.
SDMC chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said he will discuss with the Divisional Health Office to come up with a suitable arrangement.
“We have to work out an arrangement to help the affected farmers. 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 but Top Fruits (a company) will continue to buy whatever is available,” said the Deputy Chief Minister after visiting Top Fruits Sdn Bhd’s Durian Collecting, Processing and Packaging Centre (CPPC) in Tarat here yesterday.
Uggah, who is Minister of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, said Top Fruits is an anchor company specialising in preserving fresh durian fruit and processing frozen durian paste for export.
The company which started operation in 2018 has exported its first 16 metric tonnes to China.
Uggah said the company had spent about RM1.14 million in 2019 to buy an estimated total of 670 metric tonnes of local fresh durians from farmers in Bau, Serian, Padawan and Siburan.
“In term of export, Top Fruits has successfully exported an estimated 122 metric tonnes of durian paste and pulps worth RM2.28 million.”
Meanwhile, on the CPPC concept, Uggah said it was a collaboration between the state government through the state Agriculture Department and selected established anchor companies.
According to him, such companies have the technology, management expertise, capital and most importantly ready domestic and overseas markets.
He added that they are very crucial links in the government strategy to be a net agro-food exporter by the year 2030.
Under the 12th Malaysia Plan, he said the government planned to develop more CPPCs in the state.
According to him, the CPPCs would meet international food safety, quality and sustainability standards like the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and 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 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.
Uggah added that the CPPCs for Layar, Long Lama and Kapit are now at planning stage.
He was accompanied by the permanent secretary to his ministry Edwin Abit, state Agriculture director Dr Alvin Lai and Top Fruits director Chong Yie Long during the visit. — Borneo Post