Budget 2021 offers RM326 million more to boost agriculture, says Uggah

The Sarawak government has also launched a special fund known as Agriculture Facilitation Fund (AFF) in 2018 to invigorate and spur the agriculture development mainly in the rural areas in Sarawak. PHOTO CREDIT: Joseph Masilamany

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KUCHING, Nov 13: The RM1.123 billion in the 2021 Budget for strengthening agriculture transformation marks an increase of 40.9 percent or RM326 million over 2020 approved allocation.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah revealed that in 2019, the agriculture sector contributed 12.1 percent or RM16.5 billion to the state Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and recorded a State Agriculture Trade Balance surplus of RM6.9 billion.

“I am glad to inform that the state agriculture sector has remained resilient and continued to be an important contributor to state GDP.
“However, in terms of food trade balance, the state experienced RM3.98 billion deficit in 2019,” he told the august House in his winding-up speech today.


Uggah, who is also Minister of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, disclosed the many efforts put into transforming the state agriculture sector and to uplift the socio-economic status of the farming community.

“The Sarawak government has also launched a special fund known as Agriculture Facilitation Fund (AFF) in 2018 to invigorate and spur the agriculture development mainly in the rural areas in Sarawak.

“A total sum of RM265 million has been allocated for AFF to support the development of a wide range of agriculture-related activities such as providing quality planting materials, farmers training and extension and strengthening agriculture marketing activities,” he said.

To reduce the impact of the price fluctuation of commodities that directly affect the farmers’ incomes, Uggah added that an allocation of RM60 million has been approved to assist farmers with farm inputs such as fertiliser and pesticide.

In addition, assistance worth RM76.1 million has been spent for commodity crops and benefiting 22,683 farm families this year.

For agroparks development, he said that the government has identified four new sites to be developed namely Sadong Jaya in Samarahan, Parit Bugis (Sarikei), Lubok Tamang (Debak) and Sungai Tisak (Simanggang).

On fisheries and aquaculture industry development, he said to date, a total of 1,974 hectares has been gazetted as Aquaculture Industrial Zone (AIZ) including Batang Ai, Rambungan Loba Stoh, Selalang and Sundar Awat-awat.

“Under the 11th Malaysia Plan, a total of 70 farmers in AIZ Batang Ai and Sundar Awat-Awat have been assisted with a total allocation of RM10 million for red tilapia and seabass culture,” he added.

Uggah also pointed out that the government has approved to extend the cash assistance for fishermen during the monsoon season next year.

“To date, a total sum of RM5.04 million has been spent for the first three months (January, February and March 2020) to 5,601 fishermen in Sarawak.

“The remaining two months (November and December 2020) will be paid by early December 2020,” he added.

As the swine industry is another major export earner for Sarawak, he revealed that the government has provided a sum of RM30 million to develop another three pig farming areas in Simunjan, Selangau and Samarakan.

“In 2020, Sarawak has exported 75,258 heads of live porkers worth RM105 million to Singapore.

“Another lucrative industry is Edible Bird’s Nest (EBN). In 2019, the export value of raw clean EBN is RM69 million and for this year up to October, the export value is RM46 million,” he said – DayakDaily