Abang Johari: Sarawak limiting land use for oil palm, shifts focus to developing food industry

Abang Johari (centre) speaks to the press while Sarawak Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture and Regional Development Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom (left) and Federal Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee (right) look on. Screenshot taken from a Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas) Facebook livestream.

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By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, July 3: Sarawak is now limiting land use for oil palm plantations to shift to developing the food industry, says Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said it is part of the State’s long-term commitment to become a net food exporter by 2030 to meet domestic and international demands as well as position Malaysia in the global market in terms of food security.

“Sabah and Sarawak are known as major exporters of oil palm. But now we have limited our land use for the product and shift to develop our food industry.

“To do this, we have to change our strategy where we use the latest technology including Internet of Things (IOT) and other applications which can add value to the food industry,” he said.

He told this to the press at a press conference held after the launch of Kenyalang Biris Rice and Carus Creamy White Pepper, Sarawak Agrofest 2022 and Nyamai Sarawak Gastronomy Festival 2022 at Lalaport Bukit Bintang City Centre in Kuala Lumpur today.

Abang Johari further explained that agriculture is a business whereby from yields, farmers can venture into downstream activities and produce value-added products for the world market.

“Thus, our (Sarawak) approach is that we are building agroparks where land is made available and ready for cultivation and it will be equipped with infrastructure including digital infrastructure and advanced technology. From there, we can diversify our products in terms of agriculture.

“For instance, with pineapple, you can go downstream (and produce other by-products). Even the waste from paddy can turn into fertiliser.

“Once you are the main producer of food, you don’t rely on imports, and if we are able to export the products, this will also strengthen our Malaysian ringgit,” he elaborated. — DayakDaily