Agriculture cannot be seen as a poor man’s job, says Abang Johari

Abang Johari (third right) receiving a token of appreciation from Syed Razlan Jamalullail (third left) while others look on at the COSAFS 2022 opening ceremony today (Sept 21, 2022).

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, Sept 21: “Agriculture cannot be seen as a poor man’s job,” says Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said agriculture is an industry, and the general perception that farming is only for the poor has to be changed.

With modern technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT), he said farming is no longer about digging earth with a hoe under the hot sun as pictured by most people.

“Nowadays you can be in the office, and you control your farm through digital devices,” he said.

Abang Johari was explaining that technology is the key to increasing production in agriculture, which is one of the two main aspects that the Sarawak government is focusing on as it works towards obtaining developed status by 2030.

Another aspect that he pointed out was market access, which is the ability of a company or country to sell goods and services across borders.

“We are not talking to Singapore. Singapore has told us that they need food, and that they cannot rely on their existing outlet.

“So, we suggested our agroparks to them. They can come here and manage (the agroparks) together from Singapore, and the quality’s assured because they are also the co-producer,” he said at the Congress on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security (COSAFS) 2022 opening ceremony at a local hotel here today.

With production well-calculated and market access identified, Abang Johari was confident that Sarawak, with its availability of vast land and renewable energy as power source, can become the net food exporter to the region by 2030.

Minister of Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, his deputy Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail, and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Board of directors chairman YAM Tengku Syarif Laksamana Perlis Dato’ Seri DiRaja Syed Razlan Syed Putra Jamalullail were among those present. — DayakDaily