Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Selangor state comes to fruit growers’ aid - Star


FRUIT growers in Selangor are slowing switching to plant oil palm which fetch better profits.

The State Agriculture, Modernisation, Natural Resources and Entrepreneur Development committee chairman Yaakob Sapari said the state government was concerned that several fruit growers had reduced their acreage and had replaced it with oil palm trees.

“We need to have a fine balance of fruit orchards and oil palm plantations.

“Fruits from Selangor actually have a good demand if it is marketed direct from the farms,” he said.

He added that consumers shied away from local fruits as the price was not reasonable.

“Fruit growers had told me that the wholesalers who bought the fruits pushed up the prices forcing the retailers to further charge extra to make a profit.

“Our aim now is to help the orchard owners to market the fruits direct to the consumers,” he said.

Yaakob said the state would enlist the guidance of Selangor Agriculture Develop-ment Corporation (SADC) to guide the fruit growers on direct marketing, creating various products from the fruits and venture into innovative production practices.

“For the fruit growers to achieve a good profit, the state has plans to organise a Friday fruit bazaar where growers would be encouraged to bring their produce and sell it in Shah Alam,” he said.

Earlier, Yaakob, who organised a fruit fiesta for the 900-odd State Secretariat staff, said the fruit bazaar would begin in next month.

“We are also working with SADC to choose quality local fruits for the export market. Other countries like Thailand exports their mangoes while Singapore buys fruits from Selangor, cans it and sells it overseas. So, Selangor has to come up with innovative products and not be left behind,” he said.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, who also attended the fruit fiesta, called upon the people to support the local fruit industry.

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