The Star Online (10/02/2020) - PETALING JAYA: After two years of preparation, UNITED MALACCA BHD (UMB) will begin planting stevia in Sulawesi this year, marking the start of its first large-scale commercial crops venture into Indonesia.
According to its chief executive officer Peter Benjamin, the planter will initially grow stevia – a popular substitute to sugar – on a 100ha site.
Of UMB’s total 30,000ha to 35,000ha plantable area in Sulawesi, about 5,000ha has been allocated for stevia while an estimated 10,000ha for coconut and 3,000ha for cocoa plantation in phase one.
He told StarBiz that “under the group’s commercial crop venture, we plan to resume planting in financial year 2020/2021 (FY20/21) and complete planting in Sulawesi within the next 10 to 15 years.”
Plantation analysts estimates that UMB will need to fork out between RM120mil and RM180mil for its cash crop venture into Indonesia.Early last year, the plantation group had disposed of four estates in Negri Sembilan and Melaka for RM175.14mil to poultry-based HUAT LAI RESOURCES BHD