TAMBUNAN: Blessed with fertile soil and a temperate climate on the high altitudes of the Crocker Range, Mukim Kirokot is ideal for cultivating vegetables and therefore has tremendous potential to become a major producer of fresh greens in Sabah.
Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan therefore urged farmers in Mukim Kirokot, which consists of 18 villages, to double their efforts in order to supply more for the market.
“The vegetables from Tambunan are mostly from Kirokot and are even in demand in Brunei. In fact, the vegetable co-operative in Brunei have said that they would like to import vegetables from Tambunan,” said Pairin, who is also the Minister of Rural Development.
He was speaking when officiating at the Mukim Kirokot Kaamatan celebration jointly organised by the 18 villages in Kg Libang Laut near here on Tuesday night.
He assured the people that the government would always put the concerns of the rural poor as a priority even in times of an economic slowdown.
“The Kadazandusun are known to be hardworking farmers but it is time to turn this trait more profitable by planting commercial crops on a larger scale,” he said.
Other than ginger which has generated lucrative income for many farmers in Tambunan, he suggested bird chillies as another option to provide them with a handsome income.
“A random survey at the open market in Keningau found that bird chillies can fetch prices of up to RM25 per kilo. Some farmers in Keningau have already started planting them commercially and for each harvest or every six months, for an area of two acres, they can get returns of up to RM80,000,” said Pairin.
Under the One District One Industry programme, Tambunan was allocated a ginger processing plant to produce among others, ginger chilli sauce.
“We really do want more people here to plant chillies because the supply is not enough. Now is the best time to do it.
Anyone keen to start off the venture can seek advice from the Tambunan District Office.
Meanwhile, at the Kaamatan celebration, 20-year-old Dora Basil of Kg Libang Laut was crowned the Unduk Ngadau of Mukim Kirokot.
Medelin John, 18, of Kg Rumuyu was second and Jecy Akim, 18, of Kg Geras came in third.