Sarawak encourages Chinese investment in high-tech food production

Abang Johari (centre) and Consul General of The People's Republic of China in Kuching Cheng Guang Zhong shake hands after opening the Sarawak-China Business Forum 2018. With them is Minister of International Trade and E-Commerce Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh.

KUCHING, August 6: Sarawak welcomes entrepreneurs from China to venture into food production here and optimise the state’s agricultural resources with high technology.

There is a huge growth opportunity for such an investment as the world’s population is expected to balloon to between eight and nine billion by 2050, leading to a shortage of food globally, said Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg today.

During the question-and-answer session at the Sarawak-China Business Forum 2018 here, the chief minister said he was inspired by the result of research in Tasmania during one of his working visits there recently; it was discovered that bees in Sarawak have a longer lifecycle compared to those in other parts of the world.

“By the year 2050, there will be a shortage of food because they (researchers in Tasmania) postulated that the population of bees as pollination agent will be reduced. This means there will be less pollinating agents and plants will produce fewer flowers and fruits; this will lead to less food to feed the world’s eight to nine billion people by then,” he said.

The research also discovered that the typical lifecycle of a bee is between three and four weeks, but Sarawak bees live longer because of the environment.

“Pollution will shorten their lifecycle but for us (Sarawak), our bees live longer. This, in turn, will enhance the process of pollination, and we can produce more food to feed the shortfall of food in 2050.”

Minister of International Trade and E-Commerce Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh (centre) presenting a token of appreciation to the Consul General of The People’s Republic of China in Kuching Cheng Guang Zhong as Abang Johari (second from right), Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (left) and Minister of Utilities Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom (second from left) look on.

On another matter, Abang Johari also said businessmen from China were free to invest in the state’s education sector. He said for the two sides to interact effectively, there was a need for trust to be present.

“That is why since Tok Nan’s (late Chief Minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem) time till now my time, we recognise the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC). It is also an advantage for us Sarawak as we can also enhance the learning of Mandarin.

“The moment we can command this language, we would be able to break the trust barrier and be able to do business with one another,” opined Abang Johari.

He said it was similar to the Malaysian Chinese who migrated here a long time ago. They mastered the local languages and thus gained the trust of the locals; this enabled them to do business freely.

“Therefore, we have to build that trust so that we can trade with one another. This can become a link between us,” Abang Johari added. — DayakDaily