JOHOR BARU: The Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board (MPIB) will introduce a new variety of the tropical plant in August that would push up Malaysia's yearly production.
Its chairman Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali said that the board was still carrying out research and development on the new variety.
“We will officially introduce the new pineapple variety next month. The new variety would help increase Malaysia pineapple production,” he said when met after officiating at the closing ceremony of 2030 pineapple industry development direction workshop held at a hotel here on Thursday (July 6).
He added that presently Malaysia produced between 400,000 and 600,000 metric tonnes of pineapples on a yearly basis but the country was only able to supply 0.25% of the world’s pineapple demand.
Sheikh Umar said the country's pineapple plantation area in 2021 was at 16,204ha with a production value of RM675.7mil with Johor being the largest pineapple plantation state, covering 63% of the total.
“There are currently 16 pineapple varieties planted in Malaysia but only four varieties can be exported to overseas markets.
“The four pineapple varieties that we export are MD2, N36, Morris and Josephine while the rest is meant for the local market.
“However, with this new variety that MPIB is introducing soon, meant for both local and foreign markets, it can help increase our pineapple production,” he said.
Sheikh Umar added that under the 12th Malaysia Plan, the government has set a target of seeing pineapple production reach 700,000 metric tonnes by 2025.
“The government, through the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry, has allocated RM23mil for this year to further develop our pineapple industry.
“This comes as last year, Malaysia's pineapple export value reached RM1.2bil, which has seen a steady increase after being badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and we are confident of being able to get RM1.3bil in export value in 2023,” he said.
He added that among the top countries that imported pineapple products from Malaysia are Singapore, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Germany.
Sheikh Umar said pineapple, which has been categorised as a new source of wealth for the country, was able to generate a better economy and income for farmers and entrepreneurs.
He encouraged more people, in particular the youth, to grab the opportunity and be involved in Malaysia’s pineapple industry.