By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Oct 16: The inaugural Sarawak AgroFest 2018 is set to be the premier agriculture festival in the state. It will be held from Oct 20 to 28 at Penview Convention Centre (PCC) in Demak here.
In addition, the International Conference on Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Sarawak 2018 (ICAAS 2018) will be held alongside this festival from Oct 23 to 24.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is expected to officiate at the festival on Oct 25.
Assistant Minister of Native Land Development Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn revealed that the agrofest was a rebranding of the Farmers, Breeders and Fishermen Day to give it a new image to position and transform the agriculture sector.
The event is organised by the Sarawak government under the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development (Manred) together with its agencies, Department of Agriculture and Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) Sarawak.
“The Sarawak AgroFest will be an annual event in the state calendar of events. The goal is to make Sarawak an agricultural hub in the region,” elaborated Roland, who represented Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas at a press conference in Imperial Hotel here today.
The festival aims to promote agriculture and agro-based industry in the state, including produce and products, business and investment opportunities, and also youth participation.
“Agriculture is one of the key sectors in the transformation of the Sarawak state economy, for it contributes 16.3 per cent to the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is worth RM15 billion in 2017.
“This sector plays an important role in alleviating poverty and uplifting the livelihood of the rural communities in Sarawak,” he asserted.
The agrofest would combine educational and entertainment programmes and competitions that include international conference and seminars, exhibition and sales, business matching session, Sarawak Kitchen, mini zoo, agro hackathon, daily and grand lucky draws as well as agricultural-themed games, competitions and daily performances.
There will be free shuttle bus services ferrying members of the public to PCC from Pangkalan Sapi (Astana) and Bangunan Saujana/Masjid Bandaraya from Oct 20-21 (Saturday and Sunday) and from Oct 26-28 (Friday to Sunday). The free shuttle bus is scheduled every two hours from 10am to 8pm.
Permanent Secretary of Manred Datu Ik Pahon Joyik, its head of Commercialisation of Agriculture Division Dr Gluma Saban, Department of Agriculture acting director Dr Alvin Chai, DVS Sarawak acting deputy director Dr Sajem Jinim and Sarawak Development Institute chief executive officer (CEO) Lelia Sim were among those present. — DayakDaily