Durian farmers get praise, help from state government

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Dr Abdul Rahman (second left in front row) gives the thumbs up to the success and tenacity of farmers Mohamad (left) and Jamani (fourth left) , joined by Rosey (centre), Ugak (right), Ripin (centre in background) and others at the durian orchard in Kampung Padang in Kelulit.

MIRI: Two farmers here have quietly proven that Musang King and five other varieties of durian grow well in Bekenu despite lacking knowledge and experience compared to their counterparts in Peninsular Malaysia.

In recognition of their resourcefulness and tenacity, the state government is providing them with farm input, infrastructure improvement and supporting services while Miri-based Sofield Agrobio Resources has donated its bio-fertiliser to them.

Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail said this during his visit to the adjoining durian orchards of Mohamad Momen, 60, and Jamani Jamiran, 65, at Kampung Padang in Kelulit, Bekenu yesterday, covering an area of over 12 acres.

“The Ministry of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development through the Agriculture Department will be supporting them with farm inputs of RM20,000 each, improvement of access road and supporting services, and we look forward to the first fruits from these farms,” he said.

Without seeking any assistance from the government, the two farmers slogged quietly at their orchards for about five years and now have about 500 durian trees, including the much-sought after Musang King and Black Thorn species, which are about to bear their first fruits.

Though they initially suffered losses due to low survival rate of Musang King and Black Thorn seedlings they plodded on and eventually were able to gradually expand the size of their orchards.

Dr Abdul Rahman is optimistic that the orchards will be producing the much sought-after durian fruits this year with proper management.

Accompanying him during the visit were Lambir assemblyman Ripin Lamat and Assistant Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Rosey Yunus, who is Bekenu assemblywoman.

Dr Abdul Rahman immediately approved their request for water pumps and improvement of water retention ponds and improvement of their farm access road by the Agriculture Department.

Mohamad and Jamani thanked the assistant minister for the farm input assistance.

Sofield Agrobio Resources is owned and managed by Ugak Sanggau, who holds a Masters degree in Plantation Management.

Field results have shown that microbes-based bio-fertiliser is able to increase yields of durian, pepper, rubber, oil palm and other crops, besides being cost-effective for small-time farmers.

Dr Abdul Rahman and Ugak later handed over the donation of bio-fertilisers to Mohamad and Jamani, and community leaders in Bekenu.