KUCHING: The establishment of Sara Spice Berhad (SSB) will be the trigger effect to boost local pepper industry.
It is a subsidiary of the Malaysian Pepper Board (MPB) and functions as its investment arm but not taking over its pepper purchase operation, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Deputy Minister Willie Mongin.
He said the future of the country’s pepper industry would be brighter with Sara Spice, as a platform to promote Sarawak’s pepper in the global market.
“The Sara Spice was established to ensure that pepper is sold with reasonable price. This move will help to stabilise the price of pepper, and thus, will reduce the gap on the value of the pepper’s production price between upstream and downstream,” he explained to reporters during the press conference held after he officiated at the Pepper Board Service Awards and presentation of certificates at Imperial Hotel today.
Willie added that he had explained the matter during the debate session at the recent State Legislative Assembly sitting.
He also said the move was to give ways for Malaysia Pepper Board (MPB) to focus on its role as an enforcement entity.
“Under MPB Act 2009 (Act 656), MPB role has been always focused on the welfare of the pepper smallholders, especially in Sarawak as it accounts 98 percent of pepper smallholders in the country. Under this Act, MPB is not allowed to be involved in commercial industry,” he explained.
He rectified on some allegations over Sara Spice was set up purposely to accumulate handsome profits from the smallholders.
“The move is to ensure that these smallholders will not be marginalised because it will ensure that the middleman has no other option but to buy the pepper at a higher price or the same rate set by Sara Spice,” he asserted.