He said negotiations had been held with the Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, to include coconut as a commodity and agricultural crop under the Malaysian Cocoa Board (Inc) Act 1988.
“The working paper from the said ministry will be presented to the Cabinet to include coconut as a commodity, besides cocoa (in the Act).
“Apart from that, it also aims to include coconut and change the name and functions of the Board to not only focus on cocoa, an industry that is relatively dim in the country, but also include coconut elements,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid who is also Home Minister said this to reporters after the proclamation of Bagan Datuk as the 12th administrative district of Perak by the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah, in Bagan Datuk on Monday.
Ahmad Zahid said this when asked to comment on the coconut industry in the country particularly in Bagan Datuk which is declining.
Elaborating, he said he had asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, as well as the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities to expedite the allocation for the procurement of seedlings for Matag coconuts which give early production compared with the Malayan Tall variety.
Ahmad Zahid who is also Member of Parliament for Bagan Datuk said currently the country imports about 1.5 million coconuts annually and the costs were high.
“I will monitor this (Matag coconut planting) so that it is not only for Bagan Datuk but also for other districts such as Sabak Bernam, Kuala Selangor, Kudat, Pontian, as well as Batu Pahat,” he said. - Bernama
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