LUBOK ANTU, Sept 16: The silver ‘patin’ fish from Batang Ai Hydro Dam lake is the latest gourmet treat from Sarawak to enrich the dining scene in Kuala Lumpur.
The catfish species is sold for up to RM130 per kilogramme there.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas emphasised that this indicated that the fish has a lot of potential in markets outside Sarawak.
“We are now already selling our Batang Ai tilapia fish to the rather discerning Singapore market.
“Our Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is himself a strong promoter of our tilapia.
“We still have the potential to do more fish cage culture projects in Bakun and Murum dam lakes which we have not really gone into,” he said when launching the state Agriculture Department AgriCOP (Agriculture Community Outreach Programme) at the Lubok Antu Sports Stadium here yesterday.
Uggah, who is also the Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, pointed out that the Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) in Batang Ai would venture into producing fish meal and fish fry to sustain the industry.
On AgriCOP, he said it was to publicise the state Agriculture Department’s various programmes toward empowering people to become modern farmers, breeders and fishermen.
“Our Chief Minister wants the sector, allocated with a development budget of RM797 million this year, to be transformed into a modern one using high technology to allow for better productivity and income.
“It is the way forward for Sarawak to achieve its objective of becoming a net food and food product exporter by 2030,” he added.
Uggah also urged farmers to diversify their activities instead of relying solely on oil palm or pepper which were often subjected to price fluctuations in the market.
At the function, Uggah announced an allocation of RM500,000 for more agricultural programmes for Batang Ai.
On politics, Uggah, who is a Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) deputy president, urged all party members here to give their full support to its three-term assemblyman Datuk Malcolm Mussen Lamoh from the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) component party of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS).
He strongly denied allegations that a PBB member would challenge Mussen in the coming state election.
In his speech earlier on, Mussen thanked all GPS component party members here for their strong continuing support.
“Anyone who wants to be successful will need the support of all and one another.
“Batang Ai is still a GPS stronghold.It will remain a GPS stronghold in the coming election,” he added. — DayakDaily