Malaysia needs to expand its pineapple plantation and raise pineapple production so as to stop imports of the fruit, a Malaysian official said on Thursday.
Currently, Malaysia has 15,000 hectares of pineapple plantation land and 30,000 hectares more are needed by 2010 to raise the country's pineapple production to one million tons a year, Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Mohd Shariff Omar said.
Meanwhile, Malaysia will be able to stop imports of pineapple by that time, he told reporters in the northern state of Perak.
He was confident that the goal could be achieved through a plantation expansion blueprint to promote large-scale and commercial pineapple growing in the states of Sabah, Sarawak, Pahang and Kedah.
The official said that the Malaysian government will provide necessary assistance for the purpose in the form of funds, machines, seedlings and irrigation.
Malaysia once was one of the major pineapple exporters in the world. However, in recent years, it has to import more and more pineapples from countries like Thailand and Indonesia to meet its domestic demand.