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Last update: 15 Dec 2009
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Ba’kelalan Strawberry

Once again, 75-year old Tagal Paran has carved his name in the agriculture sector with his success in cultivating strawberries which he started in 2007. Prior to this, the Chairman of Rata Farm Sdn Bhd had made the news following his success in cultivating apples at Ba’kelalan. Its cool climate and hilly landscape are suitable for growing not only apples but also avocados, oranges, passion fruits and strawberries. His first attempt was at an area called Badak Nur whereby 1,000 strawberry saplings purchased from Cameron Highlands were planted. The RM20,000 of venture was a failure as the strawberry saplings died after a few months of being planted.

The failure did not dampen his spirit to attempt for a second time. He learned the strawberry planting techniques from experts prior to embarking with the venture. Finally, he succeeded in his attempt and managed to cultivate 417 strawberry plants from the initial 170 strawberry saplings he obtained in 2008. These plants, planted in plastic pots and arranged on special racks, are shielded from direct sunlight and rain by a water-proofed roofing. Over exposure to the elements will damage the plants. Apart from that, Tagal also used the fertigation (mixture of water and fertiliser) system to make the plants prolific.

The strawberry plants need stringent care and daily watering. Ripe and matured strawberries are plucked immediately so as to avoid damage or eaten by worms. Emphasis is given to the proper usage of fertilisers. Although the current strawberries production is less than 20 kilogramme, Tagal is satisfied as his second attempt at cultivating has been successful. The harvest is marketed in Miri as the price for a kilogramme of strawberries is RM10.00. Apart from this, he plans to produce Ba’kelalan strawberry jam and market it together with other products such as Bario rice, mountain salt and apples. In order to increase production, he has purchased an additional 400 strawberry saplings from Kundasang, Sabah and 2,000 young apple plants from Batu Malang, Indonesia. Tagal is planning to grow grapes in the near future. Presently, he has 10 hectares of apple orchard in Ba’kelalan. (Last Update: 15 March, 2010)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 September 2010 03:41
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