JELEBU – A bill on the setting up of a Malaysian Pineapple and Coconut Industry Board (LPKNM) aimed at empowering the sector will be tabled in Parliament end of the year.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the bill, which was now in the drafting stage, would first be tabled to the cabinet for approval.
“Currently, there is only the Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board (LPNM), while there is no special body to oversee coconut,” he told a media conference after a visit to a pineapple farm here today.
He said coconut and pineapple were now seen as the country’s new source of wealth, after the musang king durian, due to their high demand abroad.
“For example the MD2 pineapple, there is high demand for the fruit in China, the Middle East, Japan and Korea.
“As for coconut, we import 151 million of coconuts a year, involving RM226 million, from a neighbouring country to meet the demand for the commodity in the country, which is estimated at 700 million coconuts a year,” he said.
Ahmad Shabery said RM27.5 million was allocated under the new source of wealth programme for the development of the coconut industry, and RM29.6 million for the pineapple industry, this year.
He said coconut and pineapple farming would be expanded nationwide.
“The biggest pineapple farm, so far, is in Johor. We hope one day, we can also export coconut,” he said.
Also present were State Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Jalaluddin Alias, LPNM chairman Datuk Samsolbari Jamali and Agriculture and Agro-based ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Ismail Bakar. – BERNAMA