KANGAR: They work on the padi fields but the sweeter success comes from planting Harum Manis mangoes.
Padi farmers in Sungai Batu Pahat, Perlis, are now earning more money from selling mangoes than the income generated from planting padi.
Mohd Zunkofli Yahya, 46, said the income from padi alone was not sufficient to meet the expenses of his five schoolgoing children.
Six years ago, the padi farmer planted 20 Harum Manis saplings behind his house.
He has been selling the mangoes for the past two years, generating an income of RM10,000 a season every year.
“I only make RM600 planting a hectare of padi but I can earn RM500 per tree by planting 30 Harum Manis trees on a 0.5ha land,” he said.
He said he used the same pesticide on both padi and mango trees to keep insects away.
He said it was cost-effective as the pesticide was supplied by the Farmers’ Organisation Authority.
Zunkofli is using the cafe which he has been operating for the past 15 years to sell his mangoes.
On good days, he can sell 40kg of mango juice and mango sticky rice.
“A kilogramme of Harum Manis can make at least three glasses of drinks at RM6 each and three plates of sticky rice mango at RM8 a plate.
“The sales touch almost RM2,000 a day, twice as much as the income from planting padi twice a year,” he said.
Another padi farmer who is also planting Harum Manis, Mat Ros Saad, 59, said the market price for the mangoes was more profitable at RM20 a kilogramme and without going through a middleman.
He said 80% of the padi farmers in Sungai Batu Pahat who own 100ha of padi fields, also planted Harum Manis for the past seven years.
Mat Ros, who planted 50 Harum Manis trees on his farm, said 30 Harum Manis growers had registered as cluster members in Sungai Batu Pahat to facilitate the marketing of the popular Perlis produce. — Bernama