Dr Rundi urges farmers to form cooperative to ensure fair returns, avoid being exploited by outsiders

(left table, from left) Edwin, Sagah, Dr Rundi, Abdul Rahman, and Martin in a photo-call with others at the 2022 M-FICORD Family Appreciation Ceremony on Wednesday evening (Oct 26, 2022).

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Oct 27: Minister for Food Industry, Commodity, and Regional Development Sarawak (M-FICORD) Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom is urging farmers from various regions to form a cooperative to ensure they receive fair returns and are not exploited by outsiders.

Dr Rundi said this on Wednesday evening (Oct 26) during the 2022 M-FICORD Family Appreciation Ceremony at the Borneo Kuching Convention Centre (BCCK).

“Countries like Thailand, as well as any country that has already demonstrated progress in terms of farmers and agriculture, have already established a more effective co-op to not only produce in terms of production, but also marketing that can control prices, etc,” he said.

He went on to say that Sarawak now has a Farmers’ Association, a cooperative body that has its own ecosystem.

“What I want is for us to form an ecosystem with different roles, which means that we from the Department of Agriculture, etc will provide guidance on research and development (R&D) resources and increase yield or results.

“We also have others in the cooperative who own lorries, do marketing, and process food, among other things.

“We can also join forces with the main players, anchor farmers, to coordinate our efforts to increase the income of poor farmers,” he explained.

He continued, “This is the effort and vision that can be seen that not only sees the farmers working hard, but can form a better commercial system.”

Dr Rundi, who is also the Kemena assemblyman, noted that Sarawak now has a membership of 28 agencies in the Area Farmers’ Organisation (PPK), which equates to 176,000 farmers with great potential.

He believes that if it can be transformed for the production and marketing sectors, it will have a significant impact.

Meanwhile, eight M-FICORD employees received the 2022 Outstanding Service Award at the ceremony.

In addition, three people received honours, stars, and 2021 Sarawak State Medals, while three others received special awards.

Also present were Minister of Education, Innovation, and Talent Development (MEITD) Sarawak Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn, M-FICORD (Food Industry) deputy minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Ismail, M-FICORD (Commodity and Regional Development) deputy minister Martin Ben, and M-FICORD permanent secretary Datu Edwin Abit. — DayakDaily