KUCHING: Sarawak has the potential to tap into the high demand for durian in view of the resources and suitable climate in the state, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah.
He told the state assembly that durian was increasingly gaining popularity in the world market, especially in China.
“It is estimated that there are about 400,000 mature durian trees throughout Sarawak.
“However, poor maintenance and lack of market access has resulted in these mature durian trees being unproductive,” he said in his winding-up speech.
To address this, Uggah said his Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Ministry appointed an anchor company this year to help the state in durian cultivation and processing durian products, while RM2.5mil was allocated for a pilot durian rehabilitation project in Kuching, Serian, Limbang, Betong and Miri.
This will be extended to other divisions next year with a RM4mil allocation.
Another RM3mil will be allocated for a durian new planting programme for smallholders next year.
“The participants of the project will be assisted in the form of planting materials focusing on the Musang King variety.
“Local high quality durians will also be promoted and planted,” Uggah said.
He said durian was one of four major food crops being promoted in the state to develop the food industry to increase farmers’ income and food export earnings.The other crops are pineapple, banana and coconut, with plans to expand planting and processing next year.