12th Permanent Food Production Park in Keningau officially opens today

KENINGAU: A new Permanent Food Production Park (TKPM) opened today in Keningau, bringing the total number of such parks in Sabah to 12.


Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the five-hectare park will focus on the production of chilli peppers and MD2 pineapples and will be leased to eight selected participants at RM1/acre/day.

“This park is expected to produce 48 tonnes of chilli pepper per year, 70 tonnes of MD2 pineapple, and 70,000 suckers with a projected revenue of RM521,276.00 per year, providing an income of RM5,429.00 per month per participant,” he said.

Kitingan who is also the Agriculture and Fisheries Minister stated that the government plans to construct more permanent food production parks in the near future, in keeping with Sabah Maju Jaya’s goal of establishing at least one such park in each district in Sabah.

In total, the 12 TKPM and Mini TKPM throughout Sabah cover a total of area of 421 hectares involving 162 agricultural entrepreneurs.

On the fate of small time farmers, Kitingan said the government is aware that they face marketing challenges and that most of the time, tamu is their only source of marketing, which does not always provide good value for their products.

“For this reason, thr Rural Development Cooperative (RDC) is working to set up collection centres in each district. We will assist our farmers by collecting, grading, and packaging their produce and then ensuring that our farmers receive fair rates for their produce.

“My ministry is constantly devising new ways to help our farmers and to develop new sales channels for them so they are not confined to Tamu alone,” he said.

Commenting on the issue of guarana plant in Sabah, Kitingan said the government has repeatedly issued statements against the promotion and planting of guarana in Sabah.

“Guarana remains illegal and we have no plans to legalise it because of the harm it poses to our rubber industry. Look at Brazil. They no longer have rubber industry. So, we have to choose between guarana and rubber,” he said.

Kitingan said he was made aware of many individuals who were actively recruiting unsuspecting farmers in Keningau and Tambunan to attend guarana-related talk events. Interested participants were asked to pay fees to attend the ‘business opportunity’ seminars.

“I implore the people not to be duped by these guarana-planting schemes. There is a good chance that the people organising these guarana-related events are just collecting money from gullible people with the goal of fooling them.

“You can go and listen, it is not against the law right now. However, do not plant this guarana because it will decimate our rubber industry. We don’t know how guarana will benefit us, but we already know how it will destroy our agricultural industry, especially rubber,” he said.

Kitingan said the government is in the process of enacting an ordinance that will allow authorities to take legal action against guarana promoters.

Currently, the ministry is only employing existing federal laws to combat the spread of guarana across the country.

“We can only stop these plants at entry points. Once it crosses our border, we have no jurisdiction. Unfortunately, when it comes to fraud, the law requires police reports to be lodged before the police can take action against the promoters. There have been no police reports lodged thus far.

“It is also unknown whether these guarana plants are genuine as claimed by these promoters. However, we realise that this is most likely just a scam operation. Avoid them at all costs,” he warned.

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