BETONG: Sarawak needs to establish new economic networks to enhance pepper farming where it holds significant potential for generating revenue and creating a sustainable impact on the pepper planters.
Deputy Minister of Youth, Sports and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Gerald Rentap Jabu said that the state possesses abundant resources, particularly in pepper production, and thus should reduce reliance on imported products.
“Sarawak is blessed with good weather, climate and soil. Even the best creamy white pepper comes from Betong itself which fetches about RM22 per kilogram. It is a good sustenance and has a great impact on the local community.
“We also have to help to sustain it and to be able to further improve our livelihood. Imagine the whole Borneo with Kalimatan, Sarawak and Sabah with a population of 30 million buying pepper (from the state).
“Thus, we need to build the network to market these pepper products to create our own economic power,” he said.
He said this when met by reporters after visiting the pepper farm in Nanga Jelau, Layar in Betong yesterday.
Rentap, who is also the Layar assemblyman, further said the main driving force for the success of venturing into pepper business is where the youth must come in.
“Apart from that, you can see now the price of pepper is increasing and the demand is also increasing,” he said.
On the visit, he said it was the second test plot of the Malaysian Pepper Board (MPB) after Gua, Sri Aman in studying the durability of using Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) pipe poles as an alternative for using Belian poles for pepper cultivation.
“The use of this pipe pole is an innovation where the cost is cheaper as compared to Belian wood where not only is it much more expensive but the supply is also difficult to source for.
“So far, it (using pipe poles) has shown positive and successful results, including maintaining the pepper production and the same taste. However, the MPB Betong Branch is still doing further research on this,” he said.