KUCHING: Sarawak is now the world’s biggest exporter of sago, exporting about 40,000 tons of sago products to Peninsular Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and other countries.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said with that, the state and federal government will allocate RM20 million in subsidies this year for sago smallholders to boost the industry.
“We need to involve and assist the smallholders who have the land and manpower but are without the capital and management skills,” Uggah said at the opening of the 13th International Sago Symposium today.
“The state government realises that the success of the sago industry also requires strong research and development support; thus, I will discuss with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to form an international sago research centre in Sarawak.”
He said there is a need to intensify research and development in this industry, so that the state can be a net exporter of high quality sago products.
Challenges remain in the improving the quality of sago starch and added value sago products in order to compete in the global market.
“Not only do we need to increase its starch yield, we also need to reduce the gestation period of sago from the present 10 to 15 years to a shorter period, say 5 years, reduce the cost of production and continuously innovate for the latest extraction technology,” he said.