10.00 AM





Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh, Salam Malaysia Madani, Selamat Datang and Welcome to Malaysia!

  1. Let me begin by expressing my deep gratitude to the International Pepper Community (IPC), Ministry of Plantation and Commodities, and Malaysian Pepper Board (MPB) for their instrumental role in co-organizing the 51st Annual Session and Meetings of the International Pepper Community and International Spice Exhibition, commonly known as the 51st IPC ASM ISE.
  2. It is a distinct privilege to address the diverse audience before me today, comprising both local participants and esteemed guests from around the world. As I stand here before all of you, I take pride of being given the honour to deliver the keynote address at this prestigious event taking place in my home state of the captivating Land of the Hornbills, Sarawak.
  3. Malaysia's role as the host for the 51st IPC ASM ISE serves as a testament to its unwavering commitment to the global pepper industry. This monumental event has successfully brought together experts, industry leaders, and stakeholders from across the globe that offers an invaluable platform for discussions, knowledge exchange, and collaborative initiatives aimed at advancing the production, trade, and sustainability of the pepper industry.

Ladies and gentlemen, 

  1. Pepper, as we all recognize, holds a distinguished place as one of the most globally beloved and traded spice. It offers more than mere flavor to our dishes and plays a pivotal role in the livelihoods, economic prosperity, and food security of millions of people.
  2. Over the years, the global pepper industry has grappled with various challenges, with the most prominent being the imbalance between supply and demand. This disparity has exerted significant pressure on prices and the cultivation of pepper in diverse regions.
  3. At this juncture, please allow me to present key data and statistics that illuminate the state of the pepper industry. As of 2022, according to the records of the IPC, it was estimated that the world consumed approximately 213 thousand tonnes of pepper, indicating a slight decline in demand compared to the preceding year, which saw consumption of 224 thousand tonnes. This decline can largely be attributed to the postpandemic recovery and necessary demand adjustments.
  4. Conversely, global pepper production in 2022 reached 537 thousand tonnes, a decrease from the 548 thousand tonnes recorded in 2021. The decline in supply highlights the importance for us, together with every member of the IPC countries, to develop programs aimed at stimulating consumption. This initiative should extend beyond traditional markets to encompass new ones, which could include cooperative programs between member countries, as outlined in Article 3 of The Agreement Establishing the International Pepper Community, a consensus reached among esteemed IPC members.

Ladies and gentlemen,

  1. In recent times, consumers have grown increasingly concerned about how to meet market demands that now require higher quality standards and stricter import regulations. Both the United States and the European Union have established more rigorous import standards for spices, pepper included by raising concerns regarding consumer safety, production practices, labor conditions, and environmental considerations.
  2. Hence, reducing pesticide residues in pepper products is not just a preference but a necessity as it elevates the level of compliance for quantities in today's pepper market. The proper use of plant protection products adhering to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) is vital to ensure the protection of both exporters and consumers.
  3. As expectations and challenges within the pepper industry continue to mount, the ongoing cooperation and mutual support of all member countries remain critical and vital for the International Pepper Community (IPC). Therefore, in our pursuit of a sustainable pepper industry, we must reinforce several collective approaches and strategies to empower the global pepper industry
  4. Among these approaches are Sustainable Farming Practices that prioritize soil health, water conservation, and biodiversity. These practices can lead to higher yields and improved quality while mitigating the environmental impact of cultivation.
  5. Geographical origin is rapidly becoming a crucial factor in determining the quality of pepper. There is a pressing demand for a standardized system to identify the geographic origin of pepper to prevent counterfeit issues and support bids for higher market prices. Therefore, it is of great importance to provide special protection for goods or products falling within the Geographical Indication (GI) category, a topic that should be deliberated in this conference.

Ladies and gentlemen,

  1. As we convene at this International Pepper Conference, we are not merely reflecting on the history and current state of the pepper industry but we are actively shaping its future. The theme, 'Balancing the Global Pepper Supply and Demand – Alleviating Pressure on Prices,' underscores the critical need to address the current challenges faced by the industry.
  2. In a world where price fluctuations can have a significant impact on people's livelihoods and global food security, finding equilibrium and sustainability is of paramount importance. I am pleased to anticipate that the exchanges and collaborations that emerge from this conference will not only leave a lasting impact on the global pepper industry but will also contribute to broader goals of sustainable agriculture and the strengthening of our global food security.
  3. With the participation of numerous distinguished individuals from member and non-member countries, I firmly believe that by implementing sound strategies and documenting specific work plans and activities, this conference will provide invaluable takeaways for all attendees.
  4. I wish you all a successful and productive deliberation at the 51st IPC Annual Session and Meetings. Remember, your insights, expertise, and commitment are the driving forces that will shape the future and solidify the foundation of this industry.
  5. Together, we shall champion our pepper farmers, advocate sustainability and ensure that our esteemed title as the "King of Spice" continues to thrive in our lives. Together, we can strive to be stronger and achieve greatness.
  6. On that note, it gives me great pleasure to officially inaugurate the 51st Annual Session and Meetings of the International Pepper Community and International Spice Exhibition. I wish you all a fruitful conference and a pleasant stay in Kuching, Sarawak. Thank you.