Hybrid seed production initiative to be based at Debak agricultural centre

Uggah (centre) with Charlie (left) at the Debak Agriculture Centre.

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DEBAK, Oct 19: The Sarawak government has launched an initiative to produce high quality hybrid seeds at the Debak agricultural centre in Betong Division.

Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas emphasised that having a sufficient and consistent supply of quality seeds is a crucial component in the state’s agricultural development programme. Having the right seeds is a lynchpin for further agricultural growth.

“The State Agriculture Department had in September recently inked an MoU with the Green World Genetics (GWG) Sdn Bhd to develop the site for the purpose.

“GWG is a research-based organisation from Kuala Lumpur specialising in the breeding of high quality tropical hybrid seeds and improvement of agricultural products,” said Uggah who visited the 27.59-hectare site yesterday.

Following the MoU signing, the company will be licensed to create a quality seed production centre, a crop breeding and processing plant, and a Research and Development Centre.

Uggah who is also the Deputy Chief Minister said in the context of modern farming, farmers could not simply plant any seed. Ideally the seeds must be suited to soil conditions, be disease resistant and have high yield.

Quoting recent statistics of the World Seed Organisation, he revealed Malaysia was importing 2665 tonnes of field crop seeds worth US$10 million and 669 tonnes of vegetable seeds worth US$6 million.

“In Sarawak, we have yet to have any seed production facility…. an area focussing on quality seed production. That is why we are giving GWG the chance to produce the seeds.

“The company will begin with corn, then paddy seeds plus other vegetables and crops it wants to do,” disclosed Uggah, adding that it will also take farmers under its wing to produce the seeds using its technology.

“When the farmers produce, for instance, corn, it is not for immediate consumption but to produce seeds to be sold to others who want to plant the crop.”

He added the company was expected to begin operations after the current site preparation works have been completed.

Betong District Council Secretary Charlie Keling was among those accompanying Uggah on the site visit. — DayakDaily