Terengganu pushes to promote its exclusive MMT

30 Oct 2017 / 16:00 H.

BESUT: Terengganu continues to promote the state's exclusive 'Melon Manis Terengganu (MMT)' to further boost its popularity among fruit lovers.
Although introduced just over two years ago in 2015, the homegrown salmon-coloured sweet melon has earned good returns for local entrepreneurs and planters.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman wanted a new icon for the state, which led a group of fertigation specialists and the state Agriculture Department to go on a quest to develop a melon variety that could be uniquely identified as being 'Made in Terengganu'.
Besut Permanent Food Production Park manager Nasir Ali, who is also a fertigation specialist, said the researchers shortlisted seven melon varieties including two MMT varieties, of which one was white-fleshed and the other, salmon coloured.
"We let the mentri besar taste each variety for his decision. He chose the salmon-coloured one, because of its crunchy taste, and most importantly, it had never been planted in any country," he told Bernama in an interview at an MMT farm in Kampung Alur Lintang recently.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Razif who never failed to mention MMT at any official or unofficial event said the state government was committed to promoting Terengganu's icon throughout the country.
To this end, he said, the state government had endeavoured to open up more areas and expand MMT cultivation.
"The government has opened 10 MMT projects covering 5.7ha involving 52 participants. To date, 40 to 60 tonnes have been produced," he said.
Many local entrepreneurs who had turned to MMT as their new source of income found that it had improved their earnings.
Alias ​​Sulong, 49, from Kampung Alur Lintang, said he had been planting fertigated rock melon for 10 years before switching to MMT.

"I switched to MMT because the government was helping to expand its market and furthermore, MMT is not found in any other place except Terengganu. So, I do not have much competition compared to rock melon which is also planted in other states.
"Comparably, growing rock melons is more tedious and involves a lot of work. Rock melon requires manual pollination where the fruit must be wrapped with paper to make sure it is not damaged while MMT simply needs sufficient water, fertiliser and sunshine," he said.
Alias said MMT could be planted three times a year and the fruits harvested after three months.
"I plant 3,000 MMT each season and earn up to RM20,000 per harvest," he said, adding that he had plans to expand his market abroad.
Mohd Farid Mohd Rozi, 26, has a diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology but decided to take up the opportunity offered by the government to venture into MMT farming.

"I did not have a permanent job then and merely worked as an assistant for the MMT farmers. But I became interested because of the high returns and because the process was easy. I am really grateful that the Department of Agriculture had offered me the land to grow MMT.
"The demand for MMT is very high because it tastes better and is more crunchy compared to melon rock. In terms of price, MMT costs higher, around RM4 to RM6 per kg but it is still preferred by customers," he said, adding, he earned up to RM6,000 per month for his endeavour. — Bernama


thesundaily_my Sentifi Top 10 talked about stocks