Monday, December 5

IDS looks into coconut as new golden fruit for Sabah

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KOTA KINABALU: With the awareness of sustainable environment, healthy food and lifestyle, the coconut industry is making a comeback and will soon become a promising industry as it is gaining popularity globally.

This was discussed at a session organised by Institute for Development Studies (Sabah) (IDS) on May 6.

“The coconut industry in Malaysia can be considered as one of the new emerging industrial crops that could bring a significant impact to the country’s economy. Sabah has vast potential to become a hub for producers of coconut-based products if it is developed systematically and meets information standards,” said IDS Sabah chairman Datuk Dr Mohd Yaakub Hj Johari during his welcoming remarks. He added that Sabah is highly encouraged to cultivate coconut commercially to meet the needs of the crop-based products locally and abroad, in line with the Halatuju Sabah Maju Jaya.

The moderator of the discussion, Datuk Dr Idrus Shafie, IDS member of Development Planning Consultative Committee said the diversification of coconut products produced by the agriculture producers will enhance the state’s exports, bringing in additional national revenue.

“To enhance the competitiveness of the coconut industry, the private and public sectors must work together to discuss common problems and implement solutions collectively,” he added.

The session attended by the main players within the agriculture industry in Sabah, has two paper presentations which were Halatuju Pertanian Tanaman Makanan (SMJ) Negeri Sabah by Mohd Fauzi Abd Gulam, Agriculture Officer from the Department of Agriculture, and Linaco Investment in Coconut Industry in Sabah by David Yapp, Executive Assistant to Group Manager from Linaco Resources Sdn Bhd.

During the discussion, several pertinent issues and challenges were brought up by the participants, mainly issues regarding seedling production, good agronomic practices and farm management especially within smallholders and rural farmers. The group came to an agreement that the government, private sector, smallholders and rural farmers should take aggressive measures to ensure the coconut industry flourish and emerge as a golden fruit of Sabah, hence an urgent need to invest in innovative technologies to increase coconut production.

Dr Yakuub expressed his confidence in the emerging coconut industry with the support of the industry experts present during the discussion and said that IDS is fully supportive and will mobilise its research capacity to aid all parties involved in materialising the coconut industry in Sabah.