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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Oct 13: Two community leaders of Sg Asap believe that implementing a variety of agricultural activities is the best way to improve the income of their people.
Pemanca Tony Kulleh and Penghulu Saging Bit hold the opinion that aquaculture, swiftlet farming and cultivating `Musang King’ durian were ideal for their settlement.
“I believe Sg Asap could become a major hub for aquaculture, swiftlet farming and the cultivation of Musang King durian in future as our people are eager to improve their economic standing.
“Currently, due to the fluctuation in the price of sawit (oil palm) and rubber, the people are eager to look for other agriculture activities that could help them to get consistent income,” Tony told DayakDaily here today.
Tony, who is also Balui Lake Native Association (BLNA) chairman, said in order for his people to venture into aquaculture, especially in caged fish farming at Bakun HEP Dam lake, he hoped the state government would give the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development a special allocation so that it could subsidise such activities.
“We need subsidy as a start-up capital to those who are interested in such an endeavour. In turn, we can help those who need our assistance,” said Tony, adding that BLNA recently got the licence for caged fish farming in Bakun lake.
He hoped Sarawak Energy Berhad would approve certain areas in Bakun HEP lake for the purpose.
“We have applied to Sarawak Energy for certain areas at Sungai Bulo in Bakun lake for the purpose, but we have not received the official response yet. We hope they will assist us,” he said.
Tony also hoped that the Agriculture Department could provide Musang King durian seedings to his people as they were pricey.
“We heard that the government has distributed Musang King durian seedings in Betong recently. So we too want such allocation so that our people can earn a better income,” he said.
Tony believed swiftlet farming could thrive in Sg Asap due to the abundance of swiftlets in the area.
“I have started mine, and I think there is a potential for such activity here,” he disclosed.
Meanwhile, Saging said since the price of oil palm and pepper were fluctuating and were currently on the low side, he agreed with Tony that the people must be willing to find ways and means to improve their livelihood.
“Since we have limited land allocated to us, we must find the most suitable crops that could get better returns. I believe caged fish farming and the cultivation of Musang King durians could uplift our livelihood in near future,” he said.
Currently, most of the 10,000 people living in Sg Asap resettlement scheme are the elderly. Those who found employment in the nearby oil palm plantations are mostly youngsters, who have moved to seek better job opportunities. — DayakDaily