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KUCHING, Sept 17: Some 908,015 hectares, or 58 per cent, out of the total area of 1.58 million hectares under oil palm in Sarawak have obtained the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification as in August this year.
Sarawak is the second largest state to have the certification after Negeri Sembilan, which has achieved 69 per cent, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas during a briefing with the Malaysia Palm Oil Board here, today.
Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok was present at the meeting, which touched on the progress of the nationwide certification drive.
To date, an area of almost 3 million ha, or 51 per cent, out of the total area of 5.8million ha under the crop nationwide have also been MSPO certified.
Uggah reiterated that Sarawak would no longer allow oil palm cultivation on state land.
“We now allow only two million hectares to be planted with the commodity. Our focus is to increase productivity in existing areas.
“We will begin cattle-rearing programmes in all these cultivated areas, as part of the effort to increase our beef self-sufficiency level, which is currently only at 10 per cent,” he said.
Uggah who is the Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, requested funds to be allocated to the state under the 12th Malaysian Plan to help it to expand its cattle, and soon goat, intercropping programme to interested farmers.
“We have the ‘Pawah’ system, where we loan cattle to those keen in this programme, as a means to diversify their income. We expect them to return to us in six years the same number of cattle that we have distributed to them.”
Uggah said his ministry would hand over 200 cattle to Felcra this year.
He added that the state imported between 1,000 and 1,500 cattle every year from its farms in Australia, which would be shared among those interested.
“Now we are exporting 1,200 live pigs besides other pork products to Singapore each week. Last year we sold some RM50 million worth to Singapore.
“Singapore also recently indicated its interest to buy 3,000 goats from Sarawak annually,” he said.
The state aimed to become a net exporter of food and food products by the year 2030, Uggah continued.
“We are now making preparations like embarking on high technology modern agriculture to allow us to do this.” — DayakDaily