By Othman Ibrahim
He’s only 30 years old but Mohd Nazrin Kamel is already a successful pineapple planter.
He is able to earn RM15,000 a month each time pineapples on his 20-acre farm near Gedong are harvested.
Every month, Mohd Nazrin’s pineapple farm is able to produce about 5,000 pineapples which are sold to the local markets for RM3 to RM4 each. The prices depend on the sizes and types of pineapples.
On his farm, Mohd Nazrin grows two types of pineapples, namely Morris pineapples and the MD2 pineapples.
“Local markets prefer the Morris pineapples because they taste good and are easy to find. MD2 pineapples, on the other hand, are not that popular probably because they are new.
“However, MD2 pineapples are as delicious as the other pineapples. They are easy to manage because they do not have thorns on the leaves or eyes on the fruit,” said Mohd Nazrin when met at his farm along the Gedong-Simunjan Road, about 12 kilometres away from Gedong Town.
The young man started cultivating pineapples in 2017 after being encouraged by his parents and Gedong assemblyman Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais who encouraged the residents, especially youth, to grow agricultural products on abandoned or idle land.
With a small amount of capital given by his parents, Mohd Nazrin began to clear the land for planting his pineapples in stages. After the water drainage system and basic facilities at the farm were installed, he began planting his pineapple seeds.
“Apart from receiving capital from my parents, I also got help and advice from several government agencies such as the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) Sarawak and the Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board.
“These agencies helped me a lot in marketing and advisory services as well as by providing other basic assistance,” he said.
Mohd Nazrin said pineapples were not seasonal crops and could grow and produce fruits any time.
“What is important is that the crop areas must always cleared and the pineapple plants fertilised whenever needed.
“I always focus on quality pineapples to ensure all customers or wholesalers are always satisfied,” he said.
Mohd Nazrin, who is still single, lives with his family in Kampung Kanchong Baru, Gedong. After completing Form 5 at SMK Gedong, he continued his studies by taking up vocational training in electricity at GiatMara but failed to graduate.
“To avoid wasting time and since I was unemployed in the village, I decided to follow my parents’ advice to plant pineapples.
“Until now, the demand for pineapple in the Batang Sadong area and even in Kota Samarahan is still high and the existing pineapple production in Gedong and Simunjan is still not enough to meet the demand for pineapples every month,” he said.
Mohd Nazrin also encounters problems in running his farm; his pineapples are often disturbed by wild animals such as monkeys and pests.
However, he said the problems could be overcome by visiting the farm regularly and using pesticides.
Ending the interview with New Sarawak Tribune sister daily, Suara Sarawak, Mohd Nazrin thanked his parents and family, Naroden as well as the government agencies who continued to encourage his participation in the agriculture sector.
According to Mohd Nazrin, as a result of this support and encouragement, besides developing idle land increasing the income of his family, he was also able to create employment opportunities for youth in Gedong. He is confident that the Gedong can become the main producer of pineapples in Sarawak if some more idle pieces of land are cultivated with the fruits.