JOHOR BARU, Jan 21 — The floods that hit the country early this year has resulted in 79 pineapple smallholders incurring RM2.9 million in losses when their farms totalling 62.55 hectares were adversely affected.

Malaysia Pineapple Industry Board (MPIB) chairman, Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal said the affected pineapple farms involved 20 districts in six states, with Pahang being the worst affected with RM2 million in losses, followed by Johor (RM760,000) and other states such as Terengganu, Kelantan, Perak and Selangor.

“A report on the affected farmers has been forwarded to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries for the purpose of applying for aid under the Agriculture Disaster Fund.

“This fund has an allocation of RM80 million and the amount we’ve specifically asked for the affected pineapple farms is RM2.9 million,” he said at a news conference held at the MPIB headquarters, here, today.

Dr Sahruddin said with the aid, MPIB hoped the smallholders’ pineapple cultivation would be on the road to recovery and able to meet the domestic and international market demand which was slightly affected by the floods.

He said in 2019, Malaysia exported RM492 million worth of pineapples to over 20 countries, an increase of 43 per cent from RM343 in 2018.

Among the products exported are fresh whole pineapples, canned pineapples and pineapple juice.

“The importing countries have their own preferences, for example, the Middle Eastern countries prefer the N36 pineapple while China, the MD2.

“So far, Singapore is the biggest importer of Malaysian pineapples but the demand from China increasing followed by Japan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt,” said Sahruddin.

On MPIB’s cooperation to expand online marketing of products by pineapple entrepreneurs through the Shopee Malaysia e-commerce platform and others, he said it was still at the discussion stage. — Bernama