Manred gets RM87 million for agriculture development

Uggah (in black cap) giving his thumbs-up as Low (in yellow shirt) shows him one of the paddy varieties cultivated at GWG Debak Station.

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SPAOH, Aug 26: The Sarawak government has recently allocated RM87 million to the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development (Manred) to allow it to continue with existing or carry out new agricultural development programmes.

Its minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said that the amount includes RM50 million for the Agriculture Facilitation Fund (AFF).

“The new allocation will allow us to develop more fruit and vegetable fertigation, breeding, inland fishery and other programmes and activities for the people.

“It is the government’s objective to empower rural people to be quality and quantity (sic) food producers in this important sector that would allow them to generate a stable income.

“This is also in line with the State’s agenda to be a net food and food product exporter by the year 2030,” he said when officiating at a community policing workshop for 55 longhouse chiefs here yesterday.

Uggah, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister, added that supporting programmes like the setting up of food terminals, Collecting, Processing and Collecting Centres (CPPC) and other facilities are also in the pipeline.

In addition, he emphasised that the Area Farmers’ Organisations will continue to buy any surplus products from farmers, while the Agriculture Department will continue to guide farmers in using modern technology.

Uggah (second left) examining a feedmill corn cob with Chuat (second right) and Low (right). Also seen is Betong agriculture officer Petrus Kang.

Later, the Bukit Saban assemblyman also visited a seed farm enterprise, the Green World Genetics (GWG) Debak Station located near Simpang Debak.

Its project manager Low Kok Leong was on hand to show Uggah and Betong Member of Parliament (MP) Datuk Robert Lawson Chuat around.

GWC is a research and development company based in Kuala Lumpur which specialises in the breeding, production and marketing of high quality non-GMO tropical hybrid paddy seeds.

It engages with foreign breeders from the USA, China, Thailand, India and Mexico in seed research and development.

It currently exports its seeds to the Asia Pacific region, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America countries.

According to Uggah, among others, the branch is now doing research and development on 102 different varieties of paddy planted on a 1.5-hectare plot there.

“We will introduce and promote to our local farmers those varieties that are most promising.

“We will increase the seed production. Our main average production is between one to two tonnes per season.

“The company has varieties that are able to produce eight tonnes per season but these are planted under controlled environments,” he explained.

Uggah said the company is also doing similar research and development on papaya and maize on a 27-hectare site. — DayakDaily