Govt to focus on expanding fish farming in hydro dam lake areas

Senator Zaiedi Suhaili

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Sept 8: The federal government is planning to expand fish farming areas in hydro dam lakes area especially that of Batang Ai, Bakun and Bengoh to further grow the fishery sector in Sarawak until 2030.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee revealed that the fishery sector in Sarawak which comprises capture fisheries, aquaculture and inland fisheries, contributed 181,441.91 metric tonnes in 2019.

“The main fishery revenue was worth RM240 million consisting of 318,852 metric tonnes of fresh and frozen fish and prawns, downstream products as well as 160,700 ornamental fish seeds.

“The other focus is on tilapia fish and shrimp production,” he told the Dewan Negara when responding to Senator Zaiedi Suhaili today.

As for agriculture, Ronald explained that the sector consisted of agriculture products such as food crops including paddy, fruits, vegetables, spices and cash crops.

“In 2019, the yield of the agriculture sector in Sarawak was estimated at 465,203 metric tonnes with the main contributors being paddy and fruits,” he said.

The total export contribution for food crops in Sarawak, he added, was estimated at 3,791 metric tonnes with an estimated value of RM14.03 million.

Under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) to enhance the agriculture sector in Sarawak, Ronald pointed out that the ministry had directly allocated RM366.13 million to the Sarawak Agriculture Department, Sarawak Marine Fisheries Department, Sarawak Veterinary Services Department, IADA Samarahan and IADA Kalaka Saribas Betong to implement programmes and projects.

The programmes implemented included those for vegetables and cash crops, paddy, coconut, fruits, Food Production Permanent Garden, aquaculture, as well as upgrading of infrastructure for the Sarawak Agriculture Institute for the implementation of agriculture skills training.

Meanwhile, Zaiedi had asked about the latest development for agriculture and fishery sectors in Sarawak as well as the extent to which the federal government will support these sectors as a priority for which attention was required in the development of Sarawak’s economy. — DayakDaily