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PETALING JAYA: Local black ginger producer JannaFarm Sdn Bhd (JF) is targeting RM10 million in annual revenue through selling and exporting black ginger in the local and international markets, said JF chairman Datuk Dr Othman Omar.

JF is a social agri-enterprise that aims to uplift local communities, including the bottom 40% income (B40) group, through various programmes. It generates revenue via its community projects through cultivation of high-yield, short-cycle, premium value crops, leveraging on high-technology smart farming.

Othman, who is the former Felda director-general, said hundreds of millions of ringgit was spent to import raw ginger, black ginger and similar herbs and spices for cooking, cosmetics, wellness and medicinal purposes.

“What I learnt from Felda is that if you want to make Malaysia more sustainable in food security, this is something we need to start. Otherwise, we will always buy from other countries. We have the best soil conditions, weather, expertise, and capital for agricultural activities.

“The main issue (of black ginger farming) is lack of coordination, and we need to have a critical mass to make this industry viable, and this is the reason Jannafarm was formed,“ he told SunBiz.

JF operates black ginger farms in Malaysia based on contract farming and crowd-farming. It encompasses upstream, midstream, and downstream processes of black ginger production.

Othman said black ginger is known scientifically as the rhizome of Kaempferia parviflora and has been used as for traditional treatment for more than 1,000 years.

“In Thailand, it is called Thai ginseng or Thai Viagra as it has an effect on libido. Most of the raw black ginger local producers use is imported from Thailand, which is more expensive and of lower quality. Moreover, the supply of black ginger from Thailand is not consistent,“ he said.

He added that one of the company’s goals is to turn Langkawi into an international black ginger hub.

Langkawi black ginger is grown from selected best seedlings using organic farming methods with zero pesticides, natural pest control, organic fertiliser, effective microbes, enzyme boosters, composting and other environmentally-friendly ways to deliver high-quality rhizomes safe for food and medicinal products.

“This project will also help to create jobs, support the local farmers and provide opportunities for local entrepreneurs and businesses.

“The black ginger market is not mature as prices vary considerably. For example, prices can go between RM150 and RM300 per kg depending on the quantity I buy and how desperate the farmer is willing to sell,“ Othman said.

JF operates on the Waqaf business concept where 30% to 50% of the business profit is allocated for social programmes to alleviate poverty among poor and underprivileged Malaysians.

“We belong to an informal group named Pertanian Halia Malaysia with 16,000 farmers who plant all sort of ginger. We share knowledge and exchange information on ginger, including technology, and buying and selling with one another,“ Othman said.

Recently, JF signed a collaboration agreement with the Resident Association of Desa Subang Permai 1 (RADSP1) in Shah Alam to set up an organic permaculture community farm on a 3.5-acre site using organic compost from the same community.

“The farm will include a nursery for the production of Langkawi black ginger seedlings and multiple raised beds for organic black ginger farming using drip fertigation. For environmental protection and organic certification, there will be extensive use of effective microbes, enzyme boosters, organic compost and no chemical fertilisers or pesticides will be used. Proceeds from the farm will help RADSP1 to pay for their security services and fund their community projects,“ Othman said.

Last Saturday, JF and Swiss PharmaCan AG (SPC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on research and development collaboration to enable JannaFarm’s Langkawi black ginger extract products and other Malaysian medicinal herbs and spices to enter the world market.

Othman said that by leveraging on Swiss technology, Malaysian herbs and spices like its Langkawi-grown black ginger, black turmeric, tongkat ali, misai kucing, and others could be made highly potent, thus enabling potential entry into the very competitive global pharmaceutical market.

On the same day, three other MoUs were signed between JF and its new business partners. One was signed with Eco Health Sdn Bhd on collaboration in marketing their mutual products locally and globally.

The other MoUs were signed with Federlon Sdn Bhd to market the products customised for the Hong Kong and Shanghai market, and with Khee San Marketing Bhd for joint development of black ginger-based confectionery products for the local market as well as China, Japan and South Korea.

Some of JF’s products currently available in the market are ZestCafe, ZestTea, and ZestTunic.

JF will also collaborate with Harapan Multi Venture and its associated NGOs on projects and corporate social responsibility programmes. Among them are Pertubuhan Harapan Rakyat, Koperasi Hijarah Selangor, Persatuan Pembangunan Kemahiran Insan Pulau Pinang, and Pertubuhan Warisan Tani.

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