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By Wilfred Pilo
KUCHING, Oct 29: The just concluded inaugural Sarawak Agrofest 2018 held from Oct 21-28 here generated total sales revenue of about RM940,000.
Assistant Minister for Native Land Development Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn said that the revenue came from the counters of 71 participants under agro sales (merchandise from farm products and by-products) and 41 participants under agro kitchen (food and beverages).
“Each participant (agro sales and kitchens) made an estimated average of about RM8,400 in sales revenue and this does not include those who did deals away from the counter.”
He believed that the total sales generated include deals away from the counter during the festival could be more than RM1 million.
“This very good and profitable business venture in a week-long festival shows that our people and farmers are more than interested in taking up the challenge to transform the agriculture industry in Sarawak.
“As a measure of success from this first ever Agrofest event, we have achieve a huge milestone and the Chief Minister had agreed to make this an annual event. He even suggested that it be held in other regions of Sarawak so be ready for it and be prepared to take up a bigger challenge so that the 2019 festival will be a bigger success.”
He said this before presenting awards at the Agrofest 2018 Appreciation Night dinner held at Penview Convention Centre Demak on Sunday night
Roland was representiing Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah who is also the Minister For Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development.
He said despite the Agrofest 2018 success, there is still a lot of room for improvement as there is a need to focus on stronger co-operation between the public and private sectors.
“We need to bring together the key players in the agriculture sector throughout the state to exhibit and educate our farmers.
“Only by working together can we make and uplift our Sarawak agriculture industry and achieve the government’s vision to be a net food exporter by the year 2030.”
Roland lauded those who were involved in the festival and expressed his satisfaction that those involved took criticism as constructive comments to do better in the future.
He said this festival was not just about farm products alone like in previous Farmer’s Day celebrations but also encompassed smart farming, smart farming technology and entrepreneurship in agriculture through ACAS 2018.
“This inaugural agrofest goal is to further educate the farmers and inspire youth in agriculture through a new way, that is smart farming.”
He said through this kind of exposure, the state government hoped there would more opportunities and encouraged more youth to be agropreneurs.
“We need to show farmers and future agropreneurs that there are new ways to farm efficiently and cost effectively.”
Roland also disclosed that festival had attracted more that 20,000 visitors.
The appreciation night also saw Bernadette Epoi, an officer from Miri Division Agriculture Department, receiving the Model Officer in the Agro Based Industry (IAT) And Home Economy (EK) award for 2018..
Other award winners were craft operator Junita Ayat (in the rural category) and chilli sauce producer Ahmad Shafiq Ahmad Sabiri, both in Entrepreneur Aspiration Award IAT 2018, while “Sarawak Kek Lapis” operator Juliana Abu Bakar won the Successful Entrepreneur Award IAT 2018.
Miri businesswoman Annie Choo and Serian businesswoman Aida Lacha were awarded best participants in the Agro Sales and Agro Kitchen categories respectively.
Also present were Assistant Minister of Agriculture Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry For Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, Datu Ik Pahon Joyik and Acting State Director of Agriculture Alvin Chai. — DayakDaily