KUCHING, Oct 18 — A 25-acre site at the Universiti Putra Malaysia, Bintulu campus has been set aside for research project on boosting pepper production in the country, UPM vice-chancellor Datin Paduka Aini Ideris said today.
She said the higher education ministry has agreed to allocate an initial sum of RM1 million for the setting up of the Sarawak Pepper Farm@UPM Bintulu campus project, a collaboration between UPM, state Ministry of Science, Education and Technological Research and the Malaysia Pepper Board.
“It is hoped that this project will overcome the main problems faced by the pepper industry, including unproductive pepper vines, high cost of belian wood for supporting pepper vines and unstable prices of the commodity in the international market,” she said at the launch of Sarawak Pepper Farm@UPM Bintulu campus project here.
Aini said the research project is divided into three phases, with the first, consisting of five acres, to start next year.
The launch was officiated by Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusof.
Among those attended the launch were state Assistant Minister of Education, Science, and Technological Research Annuar Rapaee and pepper board director general Harry Entabang.
Sarawak contributes 98 per cent of the country’s total production of pepper berries in the country of about 30,000 metric tonnes.
When asked by reporters later, Annuar said pepper will be one of the niche areas to be given priority by the Sarawak Biodiversity Research Council Ordinance to be tabled at next month’s sitting of the Sarawak State Assembly.
He said Sarawak pepper has been graded as the best in the world by the pepper producing and consuming countries.
“Even countries like Vietnam, the world’s largest producer of pepper, agreed with the grading,” he said, adding that Sarawak must continue maintain the high quality of its pepper.
Date of Input: 20/10/2017 | Updated: 20/10/2017 | lanz
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