KUCHING: Local folk, especially women, have been urged to experiment with durians and come up with value-added durian products.

In making the call yesterday, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg pointed out that durian paste could be mixed with ‘sagun’ (a type of cake made from a mixture of rice flour, grated coconut and sugar) and other things to produce new value-added durian products.

“This ‘sagun’ can be mixed with durian to make durian-based cookies.

“And with the right preservation method, value-added products such as durian cookies can be marketed.

“This is in line with the state government’s goal to promote downstream industry where one of the main products is durian,” he explained.

Abang Johari told a press conference this after gracing the ‘Juh Berambeh Makan Durian’ (Let’s Eat Durians) event held at Surau Darul Qarar in Kampung Temedak here yesterday.

The chief minister added research and development (R&D) of durian products was ongoing at the state’s centralised agriculture centre at Semenggok.

He added research and development of rambutans was also in progress at the centre.

Abang Johari pointed out that the urban population could also take part in the downstream industry by collecting the raw materials from the rural areas and marketing the value-added products online or in the local market.

He said that only the indigenous durian and Musang King durian had succeeded in penetrating China’s market so far.

“A company in Sibu is currently producing durian paste as well as dabai-based material for dabai fried rice which is being now marketed in the country at first before attempting to penetrate the international market.

“But what’s important is the formula of extracting the raw material to create value-added products which can generate bigger incomes for the farmers and enhance the potential of durian-based products such as durian ice-cream, durian flavours, durian cookies, durian paste, etc,” he added.

At the ‘Juh Berambeh Makan Durian’ event, the public, especially the Kampung Temedak folk were treated to 2,600 durians.

The event was organised by Satok Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Muhibbah Branch in collaboration with Kampung Temedak Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK), Surau Darul Qarar (SDQ) committee and Kampung Temedak Friendly Neighbourhood (JKM).

Also present were Satok Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) deputy chief Datuk Ibrahim Baki; Satok PBB secretary Abdul Samat Gany; High Commissioner-Designate of Malaysia to the United Kingdom, Datuk Mohamad Sadik Gany; and Satok PBB Muhibbah Sub Branch chief Ali Sujang.