MCO: State govt allocates RM1.5 million to buy agricultural produce from smallholders

Longhouse dwellers of Rh Banta in Kubal Batu, Betong, with their pineapple harvest to be sold to Saribas Farmers’ Organisation.

KUCHING, April 9: The state has set aside RM1.5 million to the Sarawak Farmers’ Organisation to buy agricultural produce from smallholders in light of the movement control order (MCO).

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah disclosed the initiative is to help farming and fishing communities generate income during the restricted movement period enforced due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The funds will be channelled to the respective farmers’ organisation statewide, he added.

“The state government acknowledges the fact that with the Covid-19 pandemic and the enforcement of the MCO, our farmers and fishermen are facing problems in selling their produce and catches. This has negatively impacted their incomes.

“The state Agriculture Department has came forward to address this issue,” he revealed in a statement.

In addition, RM200,000 has been allocated to the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) offices statewide to buy farmers’ produce, where a Pasar Tani (farmers market) will be organised to sell these products.

Pineapples from Rh Banta, Kubal Batu, Betong, that were sold to Saribas Farmers’ Organisation.

Uggah, who is also the Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Minister, urged farmers to approach the two organisations in order to sell their products.

In turn, these organisations will bring their produce and catches to the markets.

“Farmers and fishermen in Betong, Samarahan, Meradong, Sibu, Limbang, Bintulu and Miri among others have done this. So please contact your nearest agriculture and Fama offices,” he added.

Uggah also disclosed that similarly, for fishermen, the government has allocated RM600,000 to the Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority to buy their catches.

“They are very significant players in our food chain and we are coming up with these solutions for them,” Uggah continued. — DayakDaily