NIBONG TEBAL: KAMPUNG Sungai Chenaam in Sungai Acheh, here, is set to become the biggest producer of roselles in the Seberang Perai Selatan district with a monthly production capacity of 2.5 metrictonnes.
The pilot project for roselle farming started in January on a 2ha piece of land involving 10 villagers, under the management of Sungai Acheh's Koperasi Bela Rakyat (Kobera).
Sungai Acheh assemblyman Datuk Mahmud Zakaria said following the success of the pilot project, the project would be expanded on another 1.6ha land belonging to the Sungai Chenaam Pertubuhan Peladang Kawasan (PPK).
Mahmud said with the combined 3.6ha of roselle orchards, Sungai
Chenaam would be turned into the biggest producer of the plant in the district. Prior to the opening of the estate orchards, the villagers planted roselle on a small scale on their house compounds.
"The participants, selected from low-income families, were trained how to manage the roselle so that they could earn additional income," he said.
Mahmud said roselle cultivation had huge potential as the demand for the plants to be processed into juice, drinking cordials, sweets and jams was encouraging.
Roselle harvested from the project were sold to the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama)
"It is one of our efforts to help people in rural areas earn extra income," Mahmud said after opening the Roselle Planting and Harvesting Management course organised by Fama at PPK Sungai Chenaam here recently.
Also present were Fama northern region director Mohd Radzi Mohd Hanafiah and state Fama director Habibah Sulaiman.
About 40 participants attended the one-day basic course.
Habibah said similar projects had been initiated in Ladang Mayfield, Labu Besar and Pantai Kamloon in the Seberang Perai Utara district with a combined monthly production capacity of 60 metric tonnes.
She said Fama encouraged participants to enrol in its contract farming programme so that they could directly sell their yield to the agency.
Habiah said the demand for roselles was high and Fama was mobilising more planters to increase supply.