An array of handicraft products made from kenaf at a handicraft stall in Setiu. Pic by Adrian David.

SETIU: Kenaf planting, as an alternate source of income, is going big here with another 185ha of land approved to be developed for commerical marketing.

Terengganu agriculture and agro-based industry, plantations and commodities committee chairman Datuk Mohamad Pehimi Yusof said RM411,255 had been allocated to 109 kenaf farmers in Setiu.

The allocation, he added, was provided for by the Malaysian Kenaf and Tobacco Board to boost the income of farmers in the state.

Other districts in Terengganu venturing into kenaf plantation are 287ha in Besut, 110ha in Setiu and 153ha in Marang.

“The board has taken into consideration the upgrade of roads leading into kenaf plantations.

“Thus, a 3.7km stretch at Kampung Bahagia and 2.3km stretch at Kampung Guntung will be improved to facilitate proper transportation,” said Pehimi, who is also Jertih state assemblyman.

He added the state government was in the process of identifying more suitable land to plan kenaf, which was the replacement crop for tobacco in view of the aggressive anti-smoking campaign by the government.

“I urge farmers to consider venturing into the kenaf planting business as the state government will fully support their initiatives.

“Kenaf is progressively picking up in commercial value and before long will have the potential to reap in profits like other crops,” he said.

Kenaf, the fibrous plant like jute, is widely promoted for handicraft and as as an artificial wood and plastic product in the manufacturing industry.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Kenaf and Tobacco Board chairman Datuk Mohamad Adhan Kechik said a RM25 million kenaf processing plant was being built in Setiu.

The plant, to be ready soon, will produce kenaf based biocomposite products for building materials, housing sectors, construction, automotive, furniture and as animal feed.

“It will also meet domestic and overseas demand as global industry players apply the ‘green zone’ concept to discard plastic based products,” said Adhan.

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