Pepper farmers to benefit from innovative initiatives

A researcher explains to Willie on the variety of pepper plants at the mini exhibition.

KUCHING: Innovative support poles for pepper vines and the introduction of new pepper varieties will benefit pepper farmers.

Deputy Minister of Plantation Industry and Commodities Datuk Willie Mongin said these innovation and initiatives would help farmers to grow pepper according to their financial capability.

He said this at a press conference after officiating at the launch of two manual books entitled “Pepper Support Pole Manual” and “Pepper Variety in Malaysia Manual”.

The event was organised by the Malaysia Pepper Board (MPB) at Puncak Borneo Service Centre, on Friday (Oct 22).

“These manuals are the research and development (R&D) efforts and initiatives from MPB to help small pepper farmers to use alternative pepper support poles.

“Other than that, this initiative will enable them to know the types or varieties of agro commodity product,” he said.

The Puncak Borneo MP explained on the four alternative support poles – polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe and bricks or ceramic and pultrusion composite recommended by MPB.

“These types of support poles have their own specialty in growing pepper.

“The good thing is that these materials will not burden the farmers as it depends on their financial capabilities as long as they can produce pepper products,” added Willie.

Willie mentioned that it was not economical to use ironwood (belian) as support pole for growing pepper.

He explained that ironwood was hard to find and also expensive which could burden pepper farmers financially.

On the “Pepper Variety in Malaysia Manual” book, he said it would help the farmers to know the types of pepper that could bring better yield.

“The manual can help the pepper farmers to identify pepper varieties, which is important to determine the productivity of the pepper plant as well as yield production.”

He said MPB recommended the Kuching pepper variety for white pepper and the Semongok Aman variety for black pepper.

Malaysia is the fifth in the world in the production of pepper after Vietnam, Indonesia, India and Brazil, he said.

“Sarawak pepper has high demand in the international market because of its premium quality and unique aroma.

“The efforts and work to improve the productivity and sustainability of pepper plants will be intensified through biotechnology studies, agronomy, breeding and protection of crops to produce high yielding of crops and more resistant to diseases and pests,” he said.

He disclosed that the current productivity of pepper is 6.4 tons per hectare and the ministry was aiming to achieve 6.6 tons per hectare by 2030.

Willie talks to MPB researchers at a mini exhibition of the alternative support pole for pepper plant.