New STOLports to facilitate food exports to Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia

Guests watching a video presentation featuring an artist's impression of the new SFO office in Kota Samarahan.

By Peter Sibon

KOTA SAMARAHAN, Sept 22: Sarawak will be able to export its food produce directly to Singapore, Brunei and Pontianak, Indonesia once the Short Take-off and Landing Airport (STOLports) at Spaoh and Bukit Mabong, Kapit are completed.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg pointed out that Sarawak will acquire its own transport plane when these airports are in operation before 2025.

“We will acquire the plane once the STOLpots at Spaoh and Bukit Mabong are completed because we already have our airports at the highlands,” he told a press conference after officiating at the earth-breaking ceremony for Sarawak Farmers’ Organisation (SFO)’s new office here today.

When asked about agricultural produce Sarawak could export to these overseas markets, Abang Johari said it would depend on market demand but currently, the demand in Singapore is for tilapia fish and ‘terung asam’ while in Peninsular Malaysia, it is for ‘patin’ fish.

“The crops that we need to transport to these countries would be vegetables, fruits and fishes,” he said, when asked about the latest development regarding the Cessna cargo plane when he launched Sarawak Tourism and Trade Office in Singapore (Statos) last year.

Earlier in his speech, Abang Johari said that the reason why the state government decided to build the SFO office in Kota Samarahan was because it is strategically located whereby local farmers, investors and foreign investors can meet to discuss business opportunities.

“Since I was an assistant minister, I have noticed the potential of Kota Samarahan. It is strategically located whereby in the next four to five years when the coastal roads are well connected with the implementation of the nine bridges, this SFC office will serve as a meeting place where we can do business related to agriculture,” he said.

The Chief Minister also expressed hope that SFO under the chairmanship of Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail would be able to bring local farmers to visit Statos and to display their produce there.

Meanwhile, Dr Abdul Rahman who is also the Assistant Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, revealed that the new RM20 million SFO office will be well equipped with modern facilities to train farmers to generate better income.

Located on a three-acre site, the new office is expected to be completed by March 2022 and will be able to serve the needs of 28 Area Farmers’ Organisations with a total membership of 170,272.

The Chief Minister, upon the request of SFO highlighting space constraints, also announced an additional two acres of land to be utilised for exhibition of agriculture machinery.

Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Assistant Minister of Native Land Development Datuk Roland Sagah Wee were among those present. — DayakDaily