By Nancy Nais
BAU, Aug 15: Six projects identified as agricultural clusters based on specific commodities is now the catalyst for the development of Serembu constituency.
In bringing agricultural transformation to the rural areas, Serembu assemblyman Miro Simuh said the Agriculture Facilitation Fund (AFF) by Sarawak government is seen as beneficial to the rural community because it aims to bring farmers to another level.
“Agriculture is important and it is the backbone of Sarawak’s economy. Other countries are also seeing it as the pillar that determines the future of their country.
“Being the largest state in Malaysia, Sarawak is extremely vast in land. Although its population is about 2.08 million, the state is still importing food products from other countries, up to almost RM4 billion.
“Our dependency on imported food should be reduced. Instead, we should work together with the government by bringing the community together and move towards agricultural industry,” Miro said when addressing villagers at the Community Extension Outreach Programme (CEOP) in Kampung Kopit today.
The fact that agriculture is seen as an income industry that can provide lucrative returns for the rural community, Miro pointed that locals should take the opportunity which the Sarawak government is rendering such as financial assistance, expertise and other assistance such as technologies, machinery, fertilisers etc.
“Not all farmers have money as start up capital to develop their land. Therefore, when I brought the idea of creating agriculture clusters, village chiefs and community leaders were excited about it and they agreed to participate,” he said.
Among the six agricultural clusters identified in Serembu are ginger with 16 participants at Kamping Gumbang; cattle farm with 45 participants on a 120-acre land at Kampung Merembeh; paddy on a 600-hectare land at Kampung Peninjau Baru, Kampung Kopit and Kampung Sega; coffee farm with 45 participants on a 400-hectare land at Kampung Tringus; baby corn on a 120-acre land at Kampung Krokong and MD2 pineapples with 19 participants on a two-acre land at Kampung Kopit.
Miro added that all those who were involved have given their full commitment to make this program a success.
He also assured everyone in Serembu that the programme would be expanded to other villages.
“I urge more villagers or farmers to participate and create new clusters. Try to introduce crops that can be harvested in a short period of time so that farmers can receive their income faster.
“The Sarawak government is helping all of you to be a successful farmer. So seized the opportunity while it is there,” Miro said.-DayakDaily