Kimchi to be new niche product in Kundasang

KUNDASANG: A few days ago Kundasang saw the rise of a new mini-industry to produce the famed Korean delicacy – Kimchi, no less!

A course in the processing of the kimchi, as well as sauces and krepek, was held at Nabalu Lodge here for three days, from October 11 to 13, organized at the initiative of the Department of Industrial Development and Research (DIDR).

At the course’s launching, The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industrial Development’s (MID), Datuk Haji Hashim Paijan remarked that “Kundasang is now all set for an exciting and vibrant development in the temperate vegetable industry. This is because of this ministry’s initiative to introduce new food production which will leverage on the abundant vegetable resources of Kundasang such as cabbages, tomatoes, carrots, etc.”

Stephen Sampil, the chief co-ordinator of the course who is also the Deputy Director of DIDR announced that said the course was well attended with a 100-per cent practical participation rate out of 30 attendants.

“The initial feedbacks from the enthusiastic participants were very encouraging indeed. Many were saying that they had been anxiously waiting for quite sometime for this kind of course so that they could utilize the excess vegetables that they are not able to sell to be turned into something valuable,” Sampil said.

“They were very glad that they no longer have to throw away their excess cabbages, tomatoes and other vegetables because they can now process them into kimchi, sauces and krepek.

“The participants were also very grateful and expressed their appreciation to the State Government for giving them the opportunity to learn new money-making skills to improve their economic and business life.”

Sampil also said that DIDR’s move  to organize the course was timely and appropriate as the initiative would definitely assist to further develop rural industries, create new niche products, develop new entrepreneurs and generate income to improve the standard and quality of life of the people in line with the Satu Daerah Satu Industry (SDSI) program or One District One Industry (ODOI) program.

“This will also contribute to the overall development of SME’s in Sabah. In the case of Kundasang, this area is well known for its thriving temperate vegetables industry not only throughout Sabah but also in the whole of Malaysia,” he added.

“However, almost all of the produces here are sold fresh with much competition, making the vegetables vulnerable to volatile price fluctuations, which is also a factor in over-supply.

“In many cases unsold vegetables are left to rot, thus wasting the valuable food resource. Thankfully, with the DIDR’s course, I am confident that the would-be entrepreneurs course participants will be able to make new and higher value-added products, thus earning a higher return and income.”

He is confident that in time to come these new products of kimchi, sauces and krepek will become highly popular and fast-selling niche products of Kundasang, which  visitors to this popular highland region of Sabah, will come to buy on top of their usual haul of fresh raw vegetables.

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