KOTA KINABALU: Beaufort will soon have a fruit collection centre and a downstream processing factory.
A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the state’s Korporasi Pembangunan Desa (KPD) and private firm Green Drone Advance Farming Sdn Bhd to set up the downstream processing factory in the district.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the venture was officiated yesterday.
Caretaker Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Junz Wong said the project, to be located on a 355-hectare site run by KPD, will not only benefit people in Beaufort but also Sipitang and surrounding areas in southwest Sabah.
“We will cultivate various types of crops, process the harvest, explore downstream potentials and develop a systematic marketing ecosystem,” he said, in a statement here today.
“Apart from increasing the production of various types of local fruits for local and foreign consumption, the centre will also help to generate additional income for rural Sabahans.
Elaborating further on the project, Wong said KPD will work with Green Drone Advance Farming in a joint venture to develop a plant-based processing plant where the final product will be marketed domestically or exported out of Sabah.
He added the downstream processing factory will create at least 30 to 50 jobs for local residents in the Lumadan-Beaufort area.
In addition to having these facilities to support farmers growing various types of local fruits such as mangosteen, mango and durian, the collection centre will also help to provide all kinds of services.
“This includes a cold room, packaging and logistics support to ensure a better service and stable income for the rural farming communities.
“This is in line with the main policy of the Warisan-led Sabah government, which is to industrialise Sabah.
Towards this end, he pointed out this vast area was never developed for almost 26 years by previous administrations, despite its potential.
Also present yesterday were incumbent assemblymen for Sindumin and Bongawan, Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob and Dr. Daud Bin Yusof.