Modern commercial farming efforts to take the lead in transforming state’s agriculture sector

Uggah (back row, fifth right) in a photo-call with the representatives of farmers for the Musang King sapling project and others.

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By Jaythaleela K

MARUDI, April 14: The Sarawak government will focus on modern commercial farming in its efforts to transform the agriculture sector.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said today (Sunday), his ministry and other related agencies would showcase the successes achieved so far in the agriculture sector, new products and new technologies in its transformation programme.

He said this at the closing of the two-day Baram Agrofest here today.

Uggah also added, an agricultural festival or Agrofest will be held in all major towns in the state this year to allow the people to learn about modern commercial farming in the effort to transform the agriculture sector.

it would allow farmers and producers to sell their products.

Uggah who is the Minister for the Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development said the transformation was crucial to enable Sarawak to be a net exporter of food products by 2030.

“We also desire to help rural folks increase their monthly income to RM4,000.00 so as to eradicate the remnant of poverty,” he opined.

He said Sarawak had vast potentials with its vast land and coupled with modern and commercial based agriculture and its hardworking farming community, it could do very well.

According to Uggah the state had enormous potential in the cultivation of pineapple, banana, durian, coconut and coffee besides livestock farming, bird nest ranching and kelulut honey production.

“There are already huge demands for these products from countries like China and Singapore,” he said.

He added the government too was encouraging farmers to diversify their crops so that they would not fall victim to any price fluctuations in the market if they solely depended on a single crop.

Uggah, meanwhile said the government was in the process of introducing fertigation and hydroponic farming methods with a focus on younger farmers.

“Their advantage is they do not require a lot of manpower while the usage of IoT (Internet of Things) will help to manage the farms properly to enhance productivity,” he said.

He said some farmers now used drones to do water crops and spray fertiliser.

On marketing side, the government had now the anchor company concept where established exporters would help.

These companies, he said, had internationally certified processing plants and the international market links.

To help the local farmers Uggah said their local farmers organisation would buy all their surplus fruits and send them to the collecting, processing and packaging centres or CPPCs for the anchor company to buy and collect.

In relation to this, Uggah said the government would consider setting up a CPPC each in Marudi and Beluru.

He added the government would consider setting up an Agropark in Baram area to help interested but landless farmers.

At the function Uggah presented prizes to winners of various categories of an agriculture competition which was held as part of the celebration.

He also gave away Munsang King saplings to representatives from eight districts in Miri Division.

The government had spent RM1 million to buy 37,000 saplings for the distribution.

Assistant Minister of Agriculture Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail, Assistant Minister of Local Government And Housing Datu Penguang Manggil and the state agriculture director Dr Alvin Chai were present at the function.

Others present were Baram Member of Parliament Anyie Ngau, Sarawak Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker Datuk Gerawat Gala and Telang Usang assemblyman Dennis Ngau.

Bintulu Division will host the next agrofest from April 26 to 29. — DayakDaily