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Larry Sng Wei Shen
KUCHING: Malaysian Pepper Board (MPB) chairman Larry Sng has advised Sarawak Pepper farmers against selling their produce at RM7.50 per kilogramme (kg) as the commodity price is expected to increase soon.
When asked where did he get the information, the Julau MP said he will make an official announcement soon.
“After taking into consideration the interest of the small holders and the market situation, it is time we review the price of pepper in Sarawak. An announcement will be made soon,” he stressed.
The commodity price which was once priced at RM29,000 per tonne in early April 2015 is today priced at RM7,512 per tonne, according to Malaysian Pepper Board’s (MPB) published daily prices.
International Pepper Community (IPC) records showed that the price of the commodity was in the range of RM10 per kg in March, 2017 compared to US$11.33 per kg for black pepper and US$16.50 per kg for white pepper in July 2015.
Sng said he was saddened that there was no specific announcement on help for the struggling pepper farmers in Budget 2019.
“I have requested RM15 million for next year in my parliamentary speech,” he added.
Sng stressed that MPB will do it best to find the solution to assist Sarawak pepper farmers who were badly affected by the commodity price drastic drop.
“If that is not forthcoming, MPB will need to use other funds to assist accordingly. I am confident nonetheless that a solution will be found in the very near future,” he concluded.
Many pepper smallholders own between 1,000 and 1,500 pepper vines and it is common for farmers to have between 400 and 800 vines each.
With each vine producing between 2kg and 2.5kg a year, smallholders were getting very low incomes at the current high prices compare to five-figure monthly income during the pepper heyday. [...]