KUCHING: Malaysian Pepper Board (MPB) is currently drafting the MPB Regulations (Licensing, Permit and Grading) 2020 which will protect the name of Sarawak Pepper as well as to help regulate the pepper trade.
In a statement issued yesterday, MPB said these new regulations are expected to be announced by first half of 2021.
“The proposed MPB Regulations (Licensing, Permit and Grading) 2020 will enforce that pepper certified as Sarawak Pepper by the MPB can be exported, sold or promoted as Sarawak Pepper. This will be enforced in 2021.
“This measure would allow MPB to promote the production and export of high quality and value-added pepper products, thereby also supporting local pepper trade development that involves exporters, retailers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs),” it said.
It also said investigations and prompt action will be taken on the allegation that unscrupulous traders are mixing imported pepper with Sarawak pepper and passing it off as Sarawak Pepper.
It pointed out such devious action will tarnish Sarawak Pepper’s reputation as a premium quality pepper and jeopardise its existing and future markets.
“Sarawak Pepper has gained popularity as a high quality product from Malaysia. In 2003, MPB has successfully registered Sarawak Pepper as a Geographical Indication (GI).
“MPB Research & Development team is currently developing the profiling for the Sarawak pepper.
“Once this is completed by end of this year, we will be able to test and find out the origin of the pepper. With this profiling system MPB will be able to verify if the pepper is indeed Sarawak pepper.
“Besides GI and pepper profiling, MPB is also exploring the possibility of implementing the traceability system for pepper production.
“Traceability is becoming ever more widely adopted in the food industry,” it said.
MPB also said it will continue its efforts to ensure Sarawak Pepper remains best pepper quality with the promotion trademark ‘Hallmark of Quality’.
The statement issued from MPB headquarters in Kuching was in response to a recent news report quoting Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas as calling on MPB to be stricter and more stringent so that Sarawak pepper remains premium.
Uggah, who is Minister of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, had revealed in the news report that a number of unscrupulous traders have lately been importing pepper from Vietnam and Indonesia, then mixing and selling them as Sarawak prime pepper.
According to Uggah, this was a challenge as Sarawak pepper was widely regarded as a premium product with high quality.