Pineapple takes centre stage at festival

Visitors looking at a pineapple display at KL Tower.

KUALA LUMPUR - Durian may be the king of fruits loved by many Malaysians, but another local favourite will take centre stage this weekend.

The Pineapple Festival 2013 is being held at the Amphitheatre of the KL Tower between 10am and 6pm until tomorrow. Entrance is free.

The fruits are straight from the farm and brought by the Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board (MPIB).

Besides other local fruits like rambutan, durian and duku, products made with pineapple such as jam, tarts, cakes and cordials are featured at the event.

Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who launched the event yesterday, said the festival would promote the uniqueness and benefits of Malaysian pineapple among locals and foreigners.

"Even the location of the festival is befitting as the tower sits on Bukit Nanas, where the earliest planting of pineapples in the country was done circa 1871," he said.

The festival ground, known as Laman Nanas, features rows of neatly arranged pineapples, which visitors can buy at reasonable prices.

They can also pick up trivia about the fruit at information counters set up by MPIB and the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority, and test their knowledge at mini games and quizzes during the festival.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri said that in the local market, there was an increase of people who preferred fresh pineapples over canned ones.

"Consumption per capita of pineapples in Malaysia has increased from 8.25kg to 10.66kg per person per year.

"Last year, the pineapple industry's total export value was at RM110.5mil (S$43mil), with Singapore and the Middle East being the top importers," he said, adding that for canned pineapples, the biggest importers were Japan and the United States.

At the launch, Ismail Sabri also witnessed the signing of an agreement between local company Rompin Integrated Pineapple Industries Sdn Bhd and China-based Agrofresh Holdings Limited, for a supply of fresh MD2 pineapples and tropical fruits to China for 10 years.

The contract worth RM300mil is the largest export of tropical fruits from Malaysia so far in terms of value.

Previously, it was reported that the first shipment of fruits will arrive in China next year, and that Malaysia will start shipment of 10 containers a month, which will gradually increase to 100 containers as per demand.