KUCHING: Fruit lovers should head to Sarikei in central Sarawak for the annual pineapple and fruit festival starting on Friday (Nov 22).
Pineapples, which Sarikei is famous for, will be showcased at the 10-day festival along with other fruits such as bananas, coconuts, pomelos, oranges and crystal fruits, which is similar to longan but bigger.
"There are a lot of fruits in Sarikei. Crystal fruit is one of the fruits that will go big because it grows well in this area and it is becoming more popular.
"Figs are also available, which we have tried growing using fertigation (the application of fertilisers in irrigation water)," Urban Development and Resources Assistant Minister Datuk Len Talif Salleh said.
Announcing the festival at Wisma Sumber Alam here on Monday (Nov 18), he said it was part of the state government's efforts to promote Sarikei as the food basket of Sarawak.
In line with this, he said the government planned to set up two agro parks and a collection, processing and packaging centre (CPPC) in Sarikei.
"We want to develop modern agriculture in Sarikei and organise the industry so that the fruits produced by smallholders can be collected and packed for export.
"We are already producing pineapple in Tanjung Manis and Sarikei and we want to increase production in future," Len Talif said.
He said the festival, which has been held since 2003, will include a variety of activities such as cultural performances, sports events, fruit and cooking competitions and a Sarikei Kitchen serving local dishes.
There will also be an exhibition and sales of fruits and other agriculture produce.
"There will be a lot of things to see, do and buy. Last year the festival attracted 90,000 visitors and recorded sales of RM1.4mil.
"This year, we are targeting 100,000 visitors and sales of RM1.5mil," Len Talif said.