By Jacob Achoi
KUCHING, Sept 4: The state government has allocated RM9 million under the Agriculture Community Outreach Programme (AgriICOP) to help farmers in rural areas.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the allocation of the programme was to intensify farming activities with the ultimate goal to increase food production in Sarawak.
“Under the AgriCOP, the state government hopes more farmers in rural areas participate not only to increase food production but the state government also aspires to become a net food exporter by 2030.
“Equally important is to enable local farmers to increase their household monthly income of RM4,000,” Uggah said today, when officiating Kuching division AgriCOP at Kpg Taba Sait Community Hall in Bengoh Resettlement Scheme (BRS), near here.
“To achieve this, we need to work together to intensify our agricultural activities,” he added.
Uggah, who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development was represented by Assistant Minister of Transport Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, who read his text of speech.
According to Uggah, as of last year, the state was only about 41 per cent in terms of self-sufficiency for vegetables and fruits.
He pointed out that farming activities in rural areas must be in clusters for easy provision of infrastructure projects like farm roads.
“Agricultural activities in rural areas ought to be carried out in clusters to enable the provision of accessibility like farm roads becoming more systematic for easy marketing of the produce,” he said.
Uggah also pointed out that his ministry has introduced modern agriculture like fertigation, hidropinic, aquaponic and Internet of Things (IoT), which require less manpower, adding that farmers must also sell their products online.
He called on the respective elected representatives to identify areas in their constituencies for cluster farming.
The programme today, organised by Department of Agriculture (Doa) and Persatuan Biya saw a total of 200 farmers attending the one-day workshop on Ginger Fertigation Technology besides planting of coffee and pineapples.
For the record, Mambong has been identified as a coffee belt with 3,000 hectares suitable for the crop.
Dr Jerip has said that the development of Padawan Growth Centre at Kpg Bayur along Jalan Borneo Heights will have a coffee processing and collection centre.
Deputy director of DoA Gawin Dom was among those present.-DayakDaily