Ensuring quality of fruits sold locally

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 11 Jul 2006

MUAR: Farmers and smallholders will soon have to label their fruits so that suppliers and consumers can trace the origin of fruits found to contain excessive pesticide. 

Federal Agriculture and Marketing Authority (Fama) director-general Haron A. Rahim said this requirement, now imposed on fruits for export, would soon be applied to those sold locally. 

Fama, he said, could also use this system to trace and advise producers of low quality fruits to make improvements. 

Haron added that the authority wanted to help farmers and smallholders market their produce – especially seasonal fruits such as durians and rambutans – under its contract-marketing programme. 

He said Fama would buy directly from farmers, and had set up about 230 collection centres throughout the country for this purpose. 

“However, we want them to adopt good agricultural practices, where all produce is not only of good quality but also safe to consume,” Haron said during a visit to the Lenga nucleus durian farm project, near here, yesterday. 

He said fruits, especially durians, sometimes enjoyed bumper harvests and the glut would affect prices. 

“Fama has to plan ways to market them to maintain prices,” he added. 

Haron said that since there were many new durian clones which produce high-quality fruits, farmers should consider replacing their old trees with new ones. 

He said the ordinary kampung durians usually fetched about RM1.20 per kilo during normal season but the price would drop below 40 sen when there was a glut. 

He said the cloned durians would fetch between RM8 and RM13 per kilo, but their price would not drop too low even it was a bumper harvest. 

“We want farmers and smallholders with old durian trees to replant them in stages if they cannot replant the whole plot at one go.  

“In this way, their fruits will be of high quality and will fetch good prices even during a glut,” he added.  

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