SEGAMAT: Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Johor branch has converted a 0.8ha plot of unused land in its campus into a pineapple plantation to give students and staff a chance to earn extra income while generating revenue for the institution.
UiTM Johor research, industrial linkages and alumni deputy rector Assoc Prof Dr Saunah Zainon said the plan had been dubbed the “pineapple plantation entrepreneurs collaboration project.”
It is jointly managed by UiTM Johor branch, Segamat campus, Johor government, Malaysian Academy of SME and Entrepreneurship Development (Masmed), Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board (LPNM) Johor and Johor Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority.
“The state’s pineapple industry has a lot of room to grow, not only for consumption but also to be developed into other downstream products that can generate income for the university.
“This project is led by the campus rector Prof Dr Hj Ismail Ahmad together with the project chief and Masmed coordinator Siti Nordiyana Isahak, with full support from Johor agriculture, agro-based and rural development committee chairman Datuk Samsolbari Jamali, ” Assoc Prof Saunah said when contacted.
She said that in the first phase, 0.8ha out of the 216ha of land located at the UiTM Johor Segamat campus would be designated as the pioneer site for this project.
“The project is divided into three phases. The first one involves ensuring the land is cleared and fenced up; the second phase is where we plant 34,000 pineapple plants and phase three involves caring for the plants and harvesting.
“The project started in September and we expect the first harvest early in 2022, ” she said, She revealed that the project hoped to produce 51,000 pineapples in each one-and-a-half-year cycle.However, she declined to disclose how much was being spent on the project.
Assoc Prof Saunah said it was being run by 16 volunteer students and UiTM Johor Entrepreneur Club, as well as 10 lecturers and staff.
She also said that UiTM Johor was planning to commercialise its land soon.
“This is because the campus has unused land that can be developed and commercialised to generate sustainable revenue.
“This move will also give students a chance to earn some income and provide job opportunities to the graduates, ” she said, adding that the project was in line with UiTM’s “Greenation” agenda that was introduced by UiTM vice-chancellor Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Azraai Kassim.
“It is in line with the state government’s plan to transform the Segamat district into an agricultural hub, ” said Assoc Prof Saunah.
“We can also plant other types of plants on the campus land through smart farming and smart partnership initiatives, ” she said, adding that this could open up more job opportunities for locals and help generate revenue for the state in the long run.
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