GERIK, June 21 — The Agriculture and Food Security Ministry (KPKM) is planning to transform the Orang Asli community into one of the main drivers for large-scale durian cultivation in the country.

Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu said this was due to the numerous locations near their settlements that have the potential for growing high-quality durian, which could penetrate overseas markets, particularly China.

“This plan will be discussed at the ministerial and departmental level with the Orang Asli involved to address various issues, including attacks by wild animals such as elephants,” he said after attending a walkabout programme at Kampung Sungai Raba in Pengkalan Hulu here today.

Also present were Agriculture deputy director-general (industrial development and expansion) Johari Abdullah and Perak Agriculture director Norsiyenti Othman.

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Yesterday, Mohamad said all local durian operators, especially Bumiputeras, need to start planting the fruit on a large scale in order for it to be marketed to China in the next five to six years.

He said the effort should start immediately following the signing of the Phytosanitary Requirements Protocol for the Export of Fresh Durian from Malaysia to China on June 19.

Meanwhile, the minister said KPKM would also work with the Rural and Regional Development Ministry (KKDW) to ensure that allocations could be channelled to Orang Asli communities interested in cultivating the crop.

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“We are not doing this alone and in terms of manpower and budget (allocation), we will coordinate with KKDW,” he said.

Apart from durian, he said KPKM also encourages the Orang Asli community to actively engage in cash crop-oriented agricultural activities to generate income. — Bernama