Kota Kinabalu: The local coffee industry is contributing a big chunk to the economic pie with some 15,000 locals being employed throughout its value chain generating over RM250 million of the State’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Industrial Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan said agriculture, manufacturing and general service comprised almost 67 per cent of Sabah’s GDP in 2016, with quantifiable value of RM49 billion.
He said the local coffee industry also played an important role in servicing the ever growing tourism sector; not counting the exports of products once they return to their respective home countries.
“It goes without saying that a successful coffee culture will serve as lead for Sabah’s other agricultural products such as tea and cocoa to go higher too.
“My Ministry has tirelessly focused on Sabah’s industrial development by looking into the complete value chain, from raw materials to manufacturing and service at the other end.
“We believe Sabah should utilise its natural advantage of abundant resources and value-add to transform into products and services.
“Sabah imports almost 1,000 tonnes of raw coffee beans yearly, as needed by over 15 factories big and small, to churn out products for consumers and over 3,000 food and beverage outlets to serve customers.
“This is expected to grow further with locals demanding better products and better service quality, as well as higher expectations from tourists visiting the State,” he said at the opening of the second KK Coffee Festival at Suria Sabah Shopping Mall, here, Friday.
According to him, his Ministry welcomes proposals for collaboration or assistance, if needed, in expanding the value chain in the areas of manufacturing, logistical support and any services to improve efficiency and productivity.
Tan also congratulated Borneo Cafe Alliance, a subdivision of Federation of Sabah Industries, in organising the successful event which, according to him, reflected the entire coffee value chain.
“Your event certainly assists in bringing more sophistication to the industry by not just providing a platform to showcase latest products and promote higher service quality but also by having competition of this sort to bring up the skill levels of local coffee players.
“This exposition event together with the Latte Art competition, I’m sure, have elevated the coffee standard here in Sabah to the benefit of not just locals but international tourists.
“Therefore, I encourage Borneo Cafe Alliance to organise more events to better serve Sabah’s food and beverage industry,” said Tan.
Meanwhile, Borneo Cafe Alliance Chairman Frankie Liew said there were 21 exhibitors occupying 30 booths, covering raw materials and equipment suppliers and cafes.
“This event presents a good spectrum of products and services to guests as well as visitors in terms of exposure, increasing awareness and elevating the standard of coffee in the State and beyond.
“We believe that the coffee industry contributes tremendously to the State’s economy as well as completes the value chain from plantation to production to services,” he said.
Also present at the event was Federation of Sabah Industries (FSI) Honorary Life President Datuk Seri Wong Khen Thau. – Cynthia D Baga
Source: Daily Express