Sarawak govt calls on youths to get involved in agriculture

Roland (holding a coconut) at the launching of Bintulu AgroFest 2019.

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By Jaythaleela K

BINTULU, April 27: The Sarawak government hopes youths would venture into the agricultural sector, especially in the three agro parks that have been approved for implementation.

“The agro parks allow youths who have no land but have a high interest in agriculture to work on and expand their knowledge and skills in the field,” said Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas at the launching of Bintulu AgroFest 2019 today.

His text-of-speech was read out by Assistant Minister of Native Land Development Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn.

When met by reporters after the launching ceremony, Roland said two of the agro parks would be in Sarikei, namely at Sungai Bajik and Sungai Sian, and another one in Sadong Jaya (Samarahan).

“We plan to have one in Bintulu, too,” he said.

On a related matter, Uggah said the state would be focussing on four types of fruits — pineapple, coconut, banana and durian — to boost the state’s agricultural export revenue.

“There is a high demand for fresh pineapples and pineapple-based products from neighbouring countries, the Middle East and China,” said Uggah, who is also a deputy chief minister.

“We are encouraging pineapple planting via smallholders, and we want to boost investment from the private sector also.”

By 2030, the state aimed to have 100,000 hectares of pineapple plants, which is a massive expansion from the current 1,700 hectares.

“We also target to achieve 100,000 hectares of coconut trees by 2030, from the current 12,600 hectares,” he said.

There is also a high demand for bananas and durians from China, he pointed out.

“It is estimated that there are about 400,000 matured durian trees in the state, but due to lack of care and weak market access, most of these trees are unproductive,” Uggah lamented, adding that his ministry had identified areas in Miri and Bintulu for growing durian trees.

A highlight of the launching ceremony was the presentation of awards to six individuals who had done well in the agriculture sector in Bintulu. Each one of them received certificates and RM600 cash.

Ninety-seven government agencies, private firms and individuals are taking part in the 3-day agrofest.

The next agrofest will be held in Kapit at the end of next month. — DayakDaily