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Borneo, Kuching, Malaysia, Sarawak, Sarawak agriculture, Sarawak Economy, Sarawakian

Protecting Sarawak’s Dabai and Terung Asam

I READ with great interest that two on my list of favourite local fruits — dabai and terung asam — have been granted Geographical Indication (GI) protection.

The certification from the Malaysian Intellectual Property Corporation (MyIPO) is basically a form of product branding.

Dabai’s certification was effective from March 9 this year, while terung asam’s came into effect on June 30.

Three other local products are also protected under GI — Sarawak Bario rice (Feb 22, 2008), Beras Biris and Beras Bajong (Feb 17, 2009).

“GI protection would ensure authenticity, consistency and quality assurance of the products. It will add value to the products and effectively increase farmers’ income and subsequently create greater demand both at home and abroad,” said State Agriculture Department director Lai Kui Fong in a report by Borneo Post.

I’ve always looked forward to dabai season and always sought dabai from my family friend’s garden in Sibu. My family members have trees in the village outside Kuching, but nothing beats Sibu dabai.

Terung asam has also been a favourite with fish dishes in particular.

It is good to see that our Agriculture Department is making the effort to protect what are essentially Sarawak fruits. Even food gives identity to our State and people.

Imagine a Sarawak without dabai!

New Zealand’s kiwi fruit was actually a warped Chinese gooseberry. But once they developed this new fruit, which would have had a New Zealand identity, they sold the vines overseas.

Instead of protecting this uniquely New Zealand plant, growers looking for quick profits did not have the foresight to protect and keep the fruit in the Land of the Long White Cloud.

Now kiwi fruits are planted in China, the US and many other countries.

New Zealand has actually had to re-brand its kiwi fruit as Zespri in the hopes of distinguishing them from those grown elsewhere.

Giving GI protection to dabai, terung asam, and Bario, Biris and Bajong rice is vital to protect what is essentially Sarawakian.

This shows great foresight on the part of the authorities and credit should be given where credit is due.

How the Borneo Post reported it

Sarawak Dabai and Terung Asam get (GI) protection

by Geryl Ogilvy Ruekeith

KUCHING: Two more local indigenous products – Sarawak Dabai and Terung Asam – have been granted Geographical Indication (GI) protection certification by the Malaysian Intellectual Property Corporation (MyIPO).

The Dabai, whose certification became effective on March 9, 2011 and Terung Asam (June 30, 2011), join three other local products – Sarawak Bario rice (effective Feb 22, 2008), Beras Biris and Beras Bajong (Feb 17, 2009).

State Agriculture Department director Lai Kui Fong said his research officers were instrumental in registering these products under the GI, which is a form of product branding.

“GI protection would ensure authenticity, consistency and quality assurance of the products. It will add value to the products and effectively increase farmers’ income and subsequently create greater demands both at home and abroad,” he said at the opening of `Research Officers’ Progress Meeting’ here yesterday.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang, who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, officiated at the event. Also present were Assistant Agriculture Ministers Datuk Mong Dagang (Research and Marketing) and Datuk Sylvester Entri Muran (Farmer’s Organisation), and MOA permanent secretary Datu Dr Ngenang Janggu.

Lau also expressed his gratitude to senior research officers Teo Gien Kheng, Lau Cheng Yuon and research officer Shariah Umar, together with the Sarawak Information Technology Resources Council (SITRC), for their efforts in registering the products.

Ninety crop research officers, soil surveyors, assistant agricultural officers from the research division, Sarawak Agriculture Institute and Soil Management branch, fisheries officers, crops division and divisional agricultural officers are attending the 3-day meeting.

This annual event comprised technical and programme sessions. In the technical session, research officers and fisheries officers would present their scientific findings in 21 oral papers in addition to seven poster-papers displayed.

The oral papers presentation are divided into five sessions, namely Vegetable Crops, Fruit Crops and Postharvest Technology; Pesticide Chemistry; Field and Industrial Crops and Inland Fisheries; Crop Protection and Agro-biotechnology; and Weeds and Transfer of Technology.

In the programme session, the crop research officers and research officers from the Soil Management branch will present their progress for the year, as well as their plan of work for the coming year.

“For crop research programmes, the session will cover the various disciplines namely Analytical Services and Biometry, Transfer of Technology, Soils Management, Crop Protection, Agro-biotechnology, Industrial and Miscellaneous Crops, Vegetable Crops, Organic Farming, Rice and Field Crops, Fruit and Post-Harvest Technology, and Peat and tree Crops,” Lau continued.

At the ceremony, Jabu received the GI certificates on behalf of the ministry.

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