IPS urged to add livestock development into course

Graduate Matthias Kon Ching Fatt receiving his Certificate in Agriculture from Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah at the IPS graduation ceremony.

KUCHING: Institut Pertanian Sarawak (IPS) has been asked to review their syllabus and add livestock development into their current course.

This is to create more graduates who will serve as expert technicians in livestock breeding, which in return, will help to increase the revenue of rural communities in Sarawak who are still dependent on commodity crops.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said by the time these students finish their course at IPS, it is the government’s hope that they will become livestock development specialists.

“Take for example our livestock, such as cattle or goats – we do not have artificial insemination services at this moment. It means our livestock are breeding at their own natural pace, which is moving too slow to meet the local demand,” he said.

“Our state’s self sufficiency level for cattle and goats is only at 10 and seven per cent respectively. We cannot continue using the natural way of breeding, so we need to build a technical team who will be specialists in artificial insemination to increase the population of our livestock.

“Once we have this, the specialist can help support the existing farmers to increase the quantity and quality of livestock. Not only that, if they are eager to be entrepreneurs themselves, they can open up their own farm,” Uggah said after the IPS Certificate in Agriculture 2015/2017 graduation ceremony today.

Currently, the IPS certificate in agriculture is a two-year course. Uggah said the institute will see how they can fit in the extra topic into the current syllabus, or extend it to a three-years course.

IPS also offers technical courses in different aspects of agriculture, such as management and crop production technology, processing of agricultural products, livestock, plantation, farm mechanisation as well as landscaping, fruit industry development, agriculture diversification, agro-based industry, home economics and aquaculture development.

Uggah, who is also the Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Minister also added that there is a need to prioritise technology advancement in the agriculture sector.

“In order to enhance productivity, we need a lot of research to give us back-up services to improve our production capacity. Not only that, when we are efficient in production, we produce good quality raw materials.

“We want to produce good quality value-added products and when we have all those, we need good strategies as to how to market our agricultural products both domestically and internationally.”

He added that the government is doing all it can to find new technologies which can help the state’s agricultural sector.

Sharing on his recent visit to China, he said he saw there how technology has helped revolutionise the country’s agriculture and hoped the same could be done in the state to boost its economy.

“That is why we hope that whoever has suitable technology which can help out with Sarawak’s agriculture can come forward and share their knowledge with everyone in the state.”

With technology, Sarawak farmers also have the chance of seeing their farms grow into big businesses which is why the state government is seeking ways to introduce new technologies into the state.