Oleh Chris Maskilone
KOTA KINABALU: National Chairman of BIMP-Eaga Business Council (BEBC) Datuk Roselan Johar Mohamed proposed that the Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry (MAFI) initiate the “One District One Plant” programme in Sabah.
He said examples of successful venture based on only one plant species outside Sabah within the BIMP-Eaga are aplenty.
For example, he suggested that Kundasang could grow Chrysanthemum flowers.
“Cameron Highland over the pass few years has been controlling the world exports of Chrysanthemum to Japan at a whopping 59 per cent,” he said.
“We are very fortunate that we have direct flight connections to Japan, twice a week, which puts us as a qualifier to plant this national flower of Japan,” he said.
In this respect, BEBC hoped Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal could allocate 20 acres of land to the council to spearhead the programme.
Roselan said this when leading the BEBC Sabah to pay a courtesy call to Agriculture and Food Industry Datuk Junz Wong at his office here on Monday.
“This is not about competition but merely for Malaysia to secure a higher percentage in our exports to Japan and elsewhere for that matter,” he said.
Roselan also pointed out to a place in Lombok, Indonesia where a relatively unknown farmer was exporting purple sweet potatoes to Japan every week amounting to two 20-footer containers.
BEBC hope Sabahan farmers can take up the challenge become as succesfull.
On the most suitable area in Sabah for the purple sweet potatoes, Roselan said they probably can work with the Rural Development Cooperative (KPD) in ascertaining the location.
A total of 16 agendas were tabled during the meeting, which included the commercial implementation of pawlounia, cavendish banana, hybrid napier and hybrid paddy.
According to Roselan, BEBC members have always made their voices heard in the Agri-Cluster meetings of BIMP-Eaga and will use the experience in lending its support to the State Agriculture Minister
“Our end result shall be food security programme, export development and promoting sustainable livelihood for our farmers and fishermen of Sabah,” he said.
Meanwhile, Junz said the State Government is here as a facilitator to the private sector initiatives and will never be in the actual business.
“Let the private sectors do their business. We will come in when there are matters to regulate and control if ever there is the need,” he said.
During the courtesy call Roselan was accompanied by the newly appointed BEBC Sabah team which included Junzuenn Basalan Executive Secretary and Chairman for Keningau, NK Foo Head of SME and Chairman for Kota Kinabalu, James Ibrahim Chairman for Kudat, Michael Chin, Chairman for Penampang, Wong Thart Sin Chairman for Tawau and Datuk Goffery Yee Loong Fook Head of Agro-industry Cluster for Tawau.
Not present was BEBC Sabah Chairman Carl Moosom who could not come due to a prior commitment.-SabahNewsToday