BENTONG: The Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry aims to raise the production of the much sought-after Bentong ginger to reduce imports, says Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
“We import about 30,000 metric tonnes of ginger from India, Thailand and China to fulfil domestic needs.
“We only produce 13,000 metric tonnes of ginger and more than half of that – 7,000 metric tonnes – is from Bukit Tinggi, Bentong,” he said.
Ahmad Shabery was speaking to reporters after visiting ginger farms here with Transport Minister and Bentong MP Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
He added that Bukit Tinggi “is being given special focus as its ginger is known to be superior in taste, quality and nutrition”.
While normal ginger is sold at between RM5 and RM7 per kg in the Klang Valley, Bentong ginger can cost up to four times more.
A check on the websites of supermarket and grocery outlets showed that Bentong ginger cost between RM20.90 and RM27.40 per kg.
“Among measures that will be taken to boost the production of Bentong ginger include preserving land and improving roads and other infrastructure,” said Ahmad Shabery.
The Government will also allocate RM1mil to build a distribution centre known as My Farm Outlet for the farmers to sell their ginger and other fresh produce.
Commenting on this endeavour, Liow said the distribution centre would benefit farmers who sold their produce illegally along the highway.
On another matter, Liow, who is also MCA president, said the party would not hesitate to drop election candidates who were unpopular with the people even at the eleventh hour.
“Every candidate must provide the best service to the people,” he said when asked about the preliminary discussion on the candidate list with Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He added that MCA would be contesting 40 parliamentary seats and 90 state seats in the upcoming general election.
On PAS’ decision to contest 42 seats in Selangor, Liow said it was more important for Barisan to focus on strengthening itself.
“It doesn’t matter who is contesting. The most important thing for us is to show the people that we’re a responsible government that delivers,” he said.