KULAI, Feb 7 — The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (KPPK) is making efforts to boost the country’s pepper production following rise in demand at both local and international levels.
Minister Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said, though pepper production is currently led by Sarawak, the crop cultivation could be further expanded in Johor, before moving to other states.
As such, he has instructed the Malaysian Pepper Board (MPB) to set a target to restore Johor’s former glory as the centre of pepper cultivation in Malaysia
“It is possible to further expand production in Johor because if we look at Vietnam, pepper is being cultivated on a large-scale and the country is the world’s leading producer,” he said after visiting a pepper farm pilot project involving a 2.3- hectare area in Felda Inas Utara here.
Khairuddin said the current price of pepper is now between RM10 and RM17 per kilogramme, RM10 for black pepper and RM17 for white pepper.
“We are confident that this price will go up further as we cultivate more and increase production to meet the high demand. Besides its use as a spice, pepper is also used to produce medicines and so forth by pharmaceutical companies,” he said.
Meanwhile when asked on the future of the local palm oil industry in facing new competition involving soybean, Khairuddin said this is not a cause of concern for the ministry as the commodity has its own advantages.
“Oil palm and soybean crops are used for different purposes, “ he said adding that palm oil is needed not only by the food sector but also for the industrial, pharmaceutical and animal feed sectors. — Bernama