More than 600 smallholders have gained from integrated pineapple project – Minister

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 (NNN-BERNAMA) — A total of 770 hectares of land have been cultivated with pineapple since the implementation in 2016 of the integrated pineapple project where pineapple is inter-cropped with oil palm and rubber, the Dewan Rakyat heard today.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Sim Tze Tzin said in 53 per cent of the hectarage, pineapple is inter-cropped with oil palm, 35 per cent with rubber while the remaining 12 per cent is mixed with fruit and coconut trees.

He was replying to an oral question from Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (BN-Baling), who wanted to know whether the pineapple intercropping incentive has helped oil palm and rubber smallholders to lessen their cost of living burden.

Sim said 679 participants have so far benefited from the integrated pineapple project, which was introduced by his ministry through the Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board as one way to promote pineapple cultivation as well as supplement the incomes of oil palm and rubber smallholders.

“On average, project participants get a supplementary income of RM2,500-RM3,500 a month depending on the pineapple hectarage and variety,” he said.

Sim said last year, Malaysia was the 23rd largest pineapple producer in the world and the fifth largest in Southeast Asia after Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.

In 2018, Malaysia produced 382,811 tonnes of pineapple worth RM502 million or 27.7 per cent of the fruit sub-sector’s output, he noted.

“National pineapple production is expected to grow 22.1 per cent annually with the 2020 output projected at 700,000 tonnes.

“Pineapple exports in 2018 were valued at RM342 million, up 39.18 per cent over 2017,” he added.

— NNN-BERNAMA