ISKANDAR PUTERI, Dec 8 — The Johor government plans to develop 1,325 hectares of coconut plantations by 2027 to meet the country's needs, said State Agriculture, Agro-Based Industry and Rural Development Committee chairman Datuk Zahari Sarip.
He said the move to open more coconut farms and plant its seeds will also make Johor the country's main coconut producer.
“Johor projects the production of 124,313 metric tonnes of coconuts per year through the expansion of the plantation areas in the state.
“In addition to being the country's largest producer of coconuts, Johor is also the main producer of the crop’s seeds in Malaysia. It is estimated that 53,000 coconut seeds are needed per year, but the production capacity of the Jorak Agricultural Centre (Coconut Seed Supply Centre) is approximately 28,000 coconut seeds per year.
“With that, the Johor government plans to increase the production of coconut seeds by strengthening its coconut seed production centered in Johor Agricultural Park, Kong Kong, Masai, Parit Botak, Batu Pahat under the management of the Department of Agriculture,” said Zahari at the Johor state legislative assembly in Bangunan Sultan Ismail here today.
He was answering a question from Datuk Jefridin Atan (BN-Kukup) about the state government's initiative to help farmers increase the dwindling coconut plantations in Johor.
Zahari said that as a record, the coconut cultivation area in the state is 12,151 hectares involving 9,898 entrepreneurs with a production of 118,278 metric tonnes last year.
The Bukuh Kasap assemblyman said the amount of production exceeded the estimated demand for coconuts in the state, which is about 105,000 metric tonnes per year.
“However, referring to the country's self-sufficiency rate, which is at 66.6 per cent, it shows a very significant shortage of coconuts throughout the country.
“Therefore, as the main producer of coconuts in the country, Johor aims to produce larger coconuts from time to time. The state government plans to focus on this crop.
“To accommodate that need and overcome the issue of damaged coconut plants, lack of nutrients, climate problems, disease attacks and other problems, a new addition of coconut planting and replanting areas is needed which will involve around 2,650 hectares,” he said.
This year, Zahari said the federal government has allocated RM500,000 for the coconut rehabilitation and replanting programme in Johor involving an area of 463 hectares.
At the same time, he said the Johor government has also allocated RM400,000 for the state's coconut rehabilitation and replanting programme involving an area of 96 hectares.
In addition to that, Zahari said the state government also encouraged applications for government land to be cultivated with coconut crops in order to increase the output.
“Coconut is one of the main crops in Johor, especially in Batu Pahat, Pontian and Muar. New locations for coconut cultivation have also been established at the Johor Southeast Development Authority (Kejora) Kota Tinggi and the Kluang Modern Agriculture Project.
“Efforts to encourage people to plant coconuts are also done through the coconut seed assistance programme, to grow the area and further increase coconut production.
“The Department of Agriculture will continue to encourage smallholders to modernise their cultivation by replanting in existing old coconut areas and by introducing new high-quality clones such as mature coconuts and pandan coconuts,” said Zahari.