Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Developing Cameron Highlands High Tech Farms

488ha of high-tech farms to be developed
Tuesday October 26, 2010

A TOTAL of 488ha of high-tech farms will be developed in Lojing and Cameron Highlands in efforts to increase production of quality fruit and vegetables bound for premium markets.

Four agriculture parks and a modern farming park will also be producing tropical fruits, while 9,000ha of an oil palm plantation owned by a government-linked company have been identified for intercropping of bananas and pineapples during the first three years of the oil palm replanting period.

These efforts are part of the Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Ministry’s efforts to tap into premium markets, one of four projects identified to achieve the goal of transitioning from agriculture to agribusiness under the Economic Transformation Plan (ETP).

The project aims to upgrade the capabilities of farmers to produce quality fresh produce that meet food safety standards of the premium European and Middle Eastern markets and reap the fruits of the growing global market for premium foods.

Limited compliance to global food safety standards, among other issues, have hampered efforts of producers to tap into demands for fresh produce for premium markets despite the nation’s ideal location and weather for growing tropical fruit as well as temperate crops in the highland areas.

The core crops that will be produced for export are the premium varieties of tropical fruit such as eksotica papaya, pineapple, rock melon, starfruit, jackfruit, banana, tomato, capsicum and lettuce.

Produce exported as premium products would command a higher price and could earn farmers a monthly income of about RM4,500 per hectare.

It is also estimated the project would contribute RM1.6bil to the gross national income and create 9,100 jobs in 2020. -- The Star News

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