KOTA KINABALU: The fragrance of the roses in the foothills of Mount Kinabalu is catching the interest of Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
He wants local rose farmers to consider moving their business a notch higher by developing the fragrance industry instead of only focusing on sales of rose stalks and the plant.
"I visited the rose growing area. It smells very good. You can see that the roses here are of high quality.
"They must consider going into developing the fragrance and perfume industry," he told reporters after launching the Mesilou Sustainable Food Production Park in Kundasang about 80kms from Kota Kinabalu on Saturday (July 18).
The Chief Minister noted that the ideal cool weather in the highland helped to produce high quality roses that could be tapped further along with the highland vegetables that were already being exported out of the state.
Shafie said that the state government under its Agricultural Development Blueprint for 2021-2030 is focused on developing the agricultural sector where farmers are encouraged to develop value added products.
He said the agriculture sector provided sufficient opportunities for employment as well as businesses to grow as there were markets for fresh food products not only for the state but for export.
"Our youths must not rely on white collar jobs but consider going into the agricultural sector," he said, adding that some of those involved with the Mesilou food park had told him they could earn between RM10,000 to RM15,000 a month.
The Mesilou park, which covers 18ha, has been divided into eight lots and has been in operations since January last year.
Among the vegetables being planted are cucumbers, red capsicum, tomato and cherry tomato.
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