Kampung Kapok banana plantation to bear 'pisang Sabah' variety

The Kampung Kapok Consultative Council (MPK) is expecting to reap the first harvest of its banana plantation by the end of this year, bringing it closer to its goal of producing banana chips in larger scale.

According to the ketua kampung of Kg Kapok, Hj Marali Hj Ahmad, the 2,000 banana trees planted are of the "pisang Sabah" variety, which he said are superior in taste and quality when compared to most of the other banana varieties found in Brunei.

The "pisang Sabah" harvest, he said, will add quality to the MPK's banana chips, which are its "One Village One Product" (OVOP).

Hj Marali explained that the "pisang Sabah" is suitable to be made into banana chips because of its "hard" texture, making it easier to slice them. The bananas also become tastier with added seasonings and flavourings.

"It's common to see many households and farms in Brunei planting banana trees, but these are mostly not the "pisang Sabah" variety. They are usually either "pisang Kapas" or "pisang Hijau" which are commonly used to make porridge or for (smoothies) and they may have a sour aftertaste if made into banana chips," said the ketua kampung.

Hj Marali also shared that since February, the sales of the village's banana chips has achieved a profit over $4,000 through various showcases and expos as well as through government orders.

The MPK's banana chip factory, which is to be located behind the Kg Kapok Mosque is still in the application and planning processes.

However, Hj Marali is positive that if there are no obstacles the factory could be completed by 2017.

It was previously reported that the MPK had planned to use the $40,000 grant they won from the previous Excellent Village Award to work on the construction fo the banana chips factory.

"We need to take it one step at a time; in my experience, there are buildings that did not get government's approval once it was completed so in these two years, we are planning to sit down regularly with (authorities) and ask for their advices to build a factory that is fully approved by them," he said.

He added: "So besides productivity, we also need to consider its condition whether or not it is suitable to get halal certification or whether it meets up the cleanliness requirement imposed by the government; and that way, InsyaAllah the building processes will be smooth in the end."