Sarawak pep­per still a world-renowned brand

The Borneo Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Lim How Pim re­porters@the­bor­neo­

SRI AMAN: Sarawak pep­per re­mains a renowned brand world­wide with its qual­ity ranked among the best of all pep­per pro­duc­ing coun­tries.

Deputy Min­is­ter of Plan­ta­tion In­dus­tries and Com­modi­ties Datuk Datu Nas­run Datu Mansur, said Sarawak pep­per has made Malaysians proud given the high qual­ity of the com­mod­ity.

“Sarawak pep­per is a worl­drenowned brand and we must keep this up by main­tain­ing its high qual­ity. Although we are the world’s fifth largest pep­per pro­duc­ing coun­try now, we must con­tinue to ex­pand our plan­ta­tions and up­hold the qual­ity of our pep­per so as to stay com­pet­i­tive in the global mar­ket,” he told a press con­fer­ence af­ter launch­ing the ‘Let’s Plant Pep­per’ Sarawak road­show at the civic cen­tre here yes­ter­day.

How­ever, Nas­run, con­ceded that the govern­ment had to tighten its reg­u­la­tions on im­ports as a means to main­tain the qual­ity of Sarawak pep­per.

He said the cur­rent ‘ loose reg­u­la­tions on im­por­ta­tion’ had led to some in­ci­dences whereby Malaysians im­ported low qual­ity pep­per, pro­cessed and pack­aged it as Sarawak pep­per.

“We must con­trol the im­port of pep­per. Even if we do need to im­port, we must not la­bel the im­ported pep­per as Sarawak pep­per.”

Malaysian Pep­per Board ( MPB) di­rec­tor-gen­eral Dr Harry En­te­bang said Malaysia did im­port pep­per de­spite be­ing the world’s top five pro­duc­ing coun­try.

He said the coun­try im­ported pep­per worth RM139 mil­lion while the do­mes­tic con­sump­tion was es­ti­mated at about10,000 met­ric tonnes last year.

“We do not want them to im­port pep­per and mar­ket it lo­cally. The govern­ment needs to en­hance the im­port perime­ters and we are work­ing on that.”

Harry said the board no longer pub­lished the prices of low qual­ity pep­per on its web­site, adding that MPB, the author­ity that li­aised among par­ties in­clud­ing planters and buy­ers, ought to be the price reg­u­la­tor.

To a ques­tion, Nas­run said while Cam­bo­dia pro­duced or­ganic pep­per, the level of pes­ti­cides found in Sarawak pep­per was very low, mak­ing it ‘more or less or­ganic’.

He added it mat­tered most that small­hold­ers par­tic­u­larly those from Sarawak em­pha­sised qual­ity planting and qual­ity pro­cess­ing.

Nas­run was also glad to note that the state govern­ment had pledged RM10 mil­lion this year to as­sist some 5,000 small­hold­ers to plant 500 hectares of pep­per in the state.

Nas­run (seated sec­ond left), Harry (seated right) and oth­ers pose with the award re­cip­i­ents.

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