News From : DagangHalal.com (13 Jul 2010)
MELAKA, July 12 (Bernama) — When it was introduced by the agriculture authorities in the early 80’s as a new source of income for farmers, many had expressed reservation against the capability of the ‘roselle’.
Many had previously seen the plant as of no value and had dubbed it with derogatory names such as ‘asam paya’ or ‘asam kumbang’ (plants of no value that grow in the wild). But over the years the cultivation of roselle has continued to flourish in the country.
Agencies such as the Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (FAMA) and Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) had gone out of their way to promote the cultivation of roselle among farmers.
Researchers had also chipped in and their effort had paved for the ‘discovery’ of roselle’s rich nutritional values as the plant is also now known for its health products.
The extensive promotions on the plant has led to entrepreneurs to embark on its wide scale and commercial cultivation as roselle only needs some three months for harvesting.
It became so popular to the extent that even houswives planted roselle around their homes in order to harvest the flower’s petals to be turned into cordials.
The roselle plant is easily raised from seeds or stem-cuttings and the plant flowers throughout the year.
The flowers are 8-10 cm in diameter, white to pale yellow with a dark red spot at the base of each petal, and have a stout fleshy calyx at the base. The calyx turns fleshy and bright red as the fruit matures.
Modern technology has paved the way for roselle to be turned into a food-production industry. Roselle’s petals can be turned into cordials, jams, jellies and pickles among others.
As this exotic tropical plant is also an ingredient in nutritional health products and beautycare items, roselle has turned into a sort of money-spinner for farmers.
Now roselle has made its own ‘niche’ in the market and its cordials and jams have made it as the family favourite.
VENTURE BY HEAZELLE
Heazelle Sdn Bhd general manager Zuraihan Zakaria acknowledges roselle’s massive potential and the plant has a bright future in the industrial sector.
Heazelle Sdn Bhd is a Bumiputera-owned company that has been producing food and drinks from roselle in the past two years. Apart from items such as jams, cordials and sweets made from roselle, the company also produces roselle carbonated drinks under the brand name ‘Heazelle’.
“Our products are made from genuine roselle petals and without artificial sweeteners or flavours,” she told Bernama when met at the company’s plant at the Melaka Halal Hub in Serkam here.
Zuraihan said the company targets to produce 200,000 bottles of the roselle carbonated drinks in 250ml, 340ml, 500ml and 1.25 litre bottles.
The drink will be distributed nationwide and available at Mydin hypermarkets.
On roselle’s nutritional values, Zuraihan said the plant is believed to have anti-cancer properties apart from anti-oxidants that can slow down the ageing process.
Roselle can also boost circulation and improve the cardiovascular system apart from being anti-inflammatory.
Meanwhile Heazelle Sdn Bhd’s operations director (palntation and production) Mohd Razip Mahat said the company utilises some 5.0 tonnes of fresh roselle a month to produce its products. The roselle is provided by farmers in Melaka and Muar, Johor.
“Due to increase in production, more roselle supplies are needed”, he said adding that the company offers the contract farm estate to farmers who are interested in order to ensure enough supply of roselle.
“So far 28 farmers in Kesang, Muar have signed up for the programme but we need more participants,” he said.
Under the programme, the company would supply the participants with roselle saplings and the farmers would also be given two weeks course.