The Agriculture Agro-Based Industry Ministry has identified pineapple as an alternative cash crop for oil palm and rubber in Felda settlements as part of the government’s efforts to increase settlers' incomes.
Minister Salahuddin Ayub said pineapples have the potential to provide good returns to farmers and operators, and has been dubbed the nation’s new income source.
Mardi and the Agriculture Department, he added, have been asked to conduct soil-profiling studies in Felda areas for the cultivation of pineapples.
“We will study the soil profiling first before making a decision on what will be the cash crop which we can give to help Felda,” he told reporters after visiting food manufacturer Tuzra Marketing in Iskandar Puteri today.
At present, Salahuddin said, the ministry is in the process of identifying the selected Felda settlements.
"After this, I think before the end of this year, we will be able to conduct several pilot projects in selected Felda areas.
"We want to be fast, we do not want to waste time, as it is important for us to increase the income of Felda families," he said.
Salahuddin added that planting pineapples as a cash crop is in line with the demand to increase pineapple plantations, especially for MD2 pineapples.
The minister added that next year’s target for MD2 pineapples is 5,500ha compared to 2,032ha in 2017.
'Lodge reports on encroachment claims'
On a separate issue, Salahuddin urged fishermen who claimed to have been threatened and detained by authorities after showing proof of encroachment by illegal trawlers to lodge a police report.
He said his ministry had taken note of the allegation by fishermen in Muar.
“We cannot do anything based on hearsay. We need proper information.
"The fishermen have to make a police report for us to take action,” he told reporters, acknowledging Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman's remarks on the matter.
Syed Saddiq was reported as saying yesterday that fishermen in his constituency had been asked to provide information and evidence to the MACC on their claims of being threatened and detained by marine authorities after showing proof of encroachment by illegal trawlers.