SANDAKAN, Jan 6 — Sabah Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Junz Wong has lauded efforts by the state’s Department of Agriculture to develop the coconut industry through the production of high-quality seeds.
He said the demand for coconut seeds had increased due to higher local and foreign demand for downstream coconut products.
“Cultivation of coconut palms has a very strong potential of becoming a new source of income for farmers,” Wong said in a statement issued today in conjunction with his visit to the Ulu Dusun Agriculture Research Station near here.
He said his ministry targeted to expand the plantation area to 25,000 acres (10,117 hectares), hence enabling a coconut processing plant to be established in Sabah.
The statement, however, did not mention the current acreage or the timeframe to achieve the 25,000-acre target.
“We must continue efforts to establish more seed production centres to meet the demand for coconut seeds,” Wong said.
According to him, it is vital to produce plant seeds from good breeds to ensure the end-products will fulfil market requirements.
Efforts would therefore be made to ensure the Federal Government provided the needed and sufficient allocation to accommodate the overall agricultural research and development, he said.
On the Ulu Dusun Agriculture Research Station, Wong said the research centre, which was established in 1962, was carrying out quality and high-yielding planting material breeding programmes as well as efforts to boost good cultivation practices.
From focusing solely on oil palms, the research centre has expanded its activities to cover cocoa, coconuts, fruit trees, herbs and other crops to cater for diversity and food production needs. — Bernama