FROZEN Tambun pomelo pulp may one day be exported to China, if the Perak Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority’s (Fama) plan works.
Perak Fama director Noorsham Ramly said he had suggested to pomelo growers to experiment freezing the fruit to see if it was feasible.
“If we can freeze the pomelo pulp, it would be easier to bring the fruit to other countries, similar to frozen durian.
“If we can replicate it, I believe it can be successful,” he told StarMetro.
“As we know, the market in the country is already quite saturated.
“We hope we can help play a role to open the doors for growers to find a bigger market.
“Pomelo has potential to be exported as it has a long shelf life and can last about three weeks,” he added.
Noorsham, however, said it would not be an easy task to export to China because of its strict import protocol.
“It took quite some time before we were able to get approval from China to send in frozen durian.
“We will have to take baby steps now and work towards breaking into the Chinese market,” he said.
He added that promotional programmes to market fruits like pineapple, durian and pomelo to Hong Kong were held before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
Malaysia signed an export protocol with China for frozen whole durian in 2018, but the clearance for import was only approved in 2019.
China had imposed strict guidelines and standards on imported fruits.
Noorsham said Fama planned to promote the pomelo at two upcoming global expos in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“There is the International Perishables Expo, which will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre in November.
“The other one is the World Expo in February next year,” he said, adding that pomelo would be part of the marketing products.
Noorsham said the Tambun pomelo was unique and no other place could recreate it.
Some states, he said, tried to grow it but its distinct taste and texture could not be replicated.
“I believe it has something to do with the limestone,” he said.
He also said the pomelo industry in Tambun was a “well-oiled machine” that had been running for many years before it was hit hard by the pandemic.
“To help the growers, we will take about two tonnes of the fruit every week to be distributed to Fama branches in other states to be marketed.
“The fruits are sent to the local traders in the respective states to be sold,” he said.
He added that the initiative, which started earlier this month, would go on for eight weeks.
Noorsham said the industry was expected to recover once the movement restrictions were lifted.
Pomelo grower Tan Swee Kong believes that the idea of frozen pomelo is workable.
“I have tried to freeze it and the taste did not change.
“There should be no problem if we have cold room containers,” he said.
“Pomelo is already well-known in Hong Kong.
“I also used to have Japanese tourists coming to my orchard and they are quite fond of it,” he added.