State leads in Liberica production

Zahari says he is keen to learn from those like Liew on how to expand the coffee sector in the state.

ALMOST 90% of the coffee grown in Johor is of the Liberica variety.

It is widely planted in four districts, says state agriculture, agro-based industry and rural development committee chairman Datuk Zahari Sarip.

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He said as of June this year, 476.5ha had been planted with coffee mainly in Batu Pahat with 296.2ha, Pontian (139.7ha), Kluang (32ha) and Muar (8ha).

“Total production in 2020 was 181,437kg valued at RM238,000 while in 2021, it increased to 598,732kg, totalling RM781,600.

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“Up to June this year,- production was at about 325,584kg valued at RM447,000,” he said.

Zahari pointed out that Johor’s soil was suitable for Liberica coffee plants, which grow well in lowland areas.

This variety, he noted, was the least cultivated and accounted for only 2% of worldwide coffee production.

Arabica makes up about 60% and the rest is Robusta.

“However, Liberica is suitable to be grown in Johor because of our soil, weather and environment,” he said, adding that to date, there are 20 registered farms cultivating Liberica coffee trees in Johor.

Zahari revealed that the state Agriculture Department received about RM390,000 this year from the Federal and state governments for coffee development activities.

“This allocation has benefitted at least 15 coffee growers and also those involved in coming up with coffee-related products,” he said.

There are five major companies producing coffee powder in Johor.

“We hope to have kiosks in future at public places to help promote our Liberica coffee,” said Zahari, noting that this initiative would help young entrepreneurs.

On problems faced by the industry, he said the main issue was lack of interest in coffee farming among youths.

“Another issue is the lack of workers, especially during the fruit-picking season,” he said, adding that these issues had been raised by the farmers frequently.

Zahari said Jason Liew’s win at the World Barista Championship in Italy last year was a good way to showcase Johor’s coffee to the world.

‘I hope to learn from people lke Liew on how we can expand the coffee sector in the state,” he added.

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