Farmers encouraged to plant coconut trees

28 May 2016

The Johor government has encouraged oil palm plantation owners to switch to planting coconut trees to reduce importing the fruit from other countries by 30% to 40% in the next three to four years.

State Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Committee chairman Ismail Mohamed said the government has been going all out in encouraging more farmers to plant coconuts, as it is also more profitable.

“We want to encourage more coconut planting as part of integrated farming, which can rake in up to RM6,000 each month if properly planned.

“Farmers can opt to grow black pepper or coffee beans below the coconut tree as well as bee-keeping for honey harvesting for an optimum use of land,” he told reporters after launching the Federal Agricultural and Marketing Agency (Fama) Ramadan roadshow on Tuesday.

Ismail said the state agricultural department would be handing out free coconut plant seeds to farmers as part of their efforts in the initiative.

He added that to further strengthen the initiative, the government has identified between 8.09ha and 12.14ha of land in Segamat to be utilised for integrated farming.

“We are currently in talks with the land administrator to identify suitable plots of land to be developed into integrated farms, where each farmer, which will include young entrepreneurs, will receive between 0.404ha to 0.809ha of land.

“We will also provide the basic infrastructures such as roads and gating and eventually a marketing centre through an allocation of RM50,000 and we hope to realise this initiative by early next year,” he added.

Ismail noted that promoting integrated farming was part of the government’s effort to lessen import while still fulfilling the demands of the local market.

He said that on average, a monthly supply of about 300,000 coconuts would be needed to cater to the demands of the local market and the number could increase by between 500,000 to 700,000 coconuts during festive seasons.

“Currently, we have the capacity to supply only about 200,000 coconuts for the state and so we hope that by encouraging more to plant coconut instead of oil palm, we can cut import by 30% to 40%,” he said, adding that coconuts were imported mostly from Indonesia.


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