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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Sept 22: Sarawak’s needs for funding to develop the infrastructure, particularly drainage and irrigation system for large-scale paddy cultivation, will be deliberated at the Federal level to determine the annual allocation for this purpose.
Federal Minister of Plantation and Commodities Dato Sri Fadillah Yusof gave this assurance that Sarawak’s needs will be brought to the attention of the Ministry, the Ministry of Economy and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
“We will begin by working out the specifics, including to see how much we (the Federal government) can allocate on a yearly basis (to support Sarawak’s efforts in enhancing and expanding its agriculture and food industry).
“This is so that Sarawak can establish the necessary irrigation and drainage systems for paddy cultivation in several identified areas mentioned by the Premier,” he told reporters after the launching of the Sarawak Agrofest 2023 held at Celebration Square, Petra Jaya here today.
Sarawak’s largest agriculture expo was officiated by Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Fadillah, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, noted that an estimated RM1 billion is required just to develop the drainage and irrigation system for large-scale paddy cultivation in the identified Banting site in Sri Aman.
“The Premier just raised this today. So let me take it back for further discussion first,” he added.
Earlier, Abang Johari mentioned that the Sarawak government has identified several sites in the State, namely Banting in Sri Aman, Lubok Punggor in Simunjan, Tanjung Purun in Lundu, Betong and hill paddy in Baram, to initiate large scale, high yield paddy planting projects.
Among those in attendance were Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Sarawak Minister of Food Industry, Commodity, and Regional Development Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom, Minister in the Premier’s Department Datuk John Sikie Tayai, former Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang, Deputy Minister of Food Industry, Commodity, and Regional Development (Food Industry) Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail, Deputy Minister of Food Industry, Commodity, and Regional Development (Commodity and Regional Development) Maclaine@Martin Ben, and M-FICORD permanent secretary Sirai Daha. — DayakDaily