Rural YBs urged to organise programmes to help locals market agricultural products

Uggah (second right) opening the carnival together with state Fama director Shahid Abu Bakar (right).

KUCHING, Feb 28: The Ministry for Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development is calling upon elected reps all over the state to work together with the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) to promote agricultural and agro-based products from their respective constituency.

Its minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said his ministry together with federal agencies such as Fama and the federal Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry has been working together to ensure rural farmers and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) producing agro-based products are not being left behind in their efforts to promote their products outside their localities.

However it would not bear much fruit if the elected representatives and community leaders of their areas do not work together with the ministries and agencies.

He said this was also to answer the challenge posed by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg for Sarawak to be a net food exporter by the year 2030.

“I am calling all YBs in the rural areas to organise these sort of programmes with Fama and the ministry in their areas so that we can know what kind of products are being produced in each area. For us in the ministry and Fama we are working to upgrade the standards of the products being sold as well as packaging because in the end our goal is to answer the Chief Minister’s challenge to become a net export of food products to overseas.

“Before we can achieve that, our food products and packaging must be upgraded to national standards,” Uggah told reporters after officiating and visiting the stalls at the My Best Buy Direct From The Farm carnival at the old State Legislative Building compound in Petra Jaya here this afternoon.

Uggah (fourth right), state Fama director Shahid Abu Bakar (second right) and others giving their thumbs-up to a bitter gourd crisps product.

The two day nationwide carnival for the state started today and will end tomorrow. It showcases and sells various agricultural and agro-based products from various SMEs, farmers and entrepreneurs from around the state.

The carnival is jointly organised by Fama and the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development.

Uggah also said, now that the ministry has engaged anchor companies, it is now possible to upgrade the standards of products as well as their packaging for international markets.

“With these success stories also we can highlight new industries and build up our smallholders in the rural areas.

“With these anchor companies we can also introduce them to the more successful companies, and we can identify the market. We (ministry) together with Fama will continue this effort,” he assured.

Uggah (centre, green shirt) taking a closer look at the products on display at the Geronong Chilli Sauce booth as state Fama director Shahid Abu Bakar (behind Uggah) looks on.

Uggah said if all goes well, rural farmers and entrepreneurs would be able to improve their incomes and livelihoods to above the poverty line by the year 2030 as Abang Johari had envisioned.

“Agriculture is a new source of wealth and we want everyone to benefit from it with the cooperation from the rural YBs and community leaders with the government agencies,” he added. — DayakDaily