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By Nur Ashikin Louis
KUCHING, Nov 21: The Sarawak government will build a regional food terminal worth RM60 million in Semenggok here, says Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
He said the food terminal is part of the State’s efforts to tap into the huge regional market for agricultural produce, address the issue of food security and safety, and create wealth for the agro-based community.
“To enhance the marketing efficiency for agriculture produces and products, the State government has approved a total sum of RM60 million under Alternative Funding to build a regional food terminal at Semenggok.
“In 2023, a sum of RM3.5 million will be allocated for this project,” he said when tabling the Supply (2023) Bill 2022 or Sarawak Budget 2023 in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting today.
Presently, three agropark projects — Sungai Baji in Sarikei; Asajaya in Samarahan; and Parit Bugis in Sarikei, are under various stages of implementation.
Thus, the Sarawak government has allocated RM14.8 million for next year to complete the farming facilities at Sungai Baji Agropark and for Parit Bugis Agropark’s preliminary works.
“Five other areas have also been identified for agropark that include Bebuling and Lubok Tamang in Betong Division, Lubok Ipoi-Lubok Trenggas and Gedong–Semelatong in Samarahan Division, and Simanggang Agropark in Sri Aman Division, which is mainly for paddy cultivation,” he added.
Abang Johari also said under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), RM5 million has been approved to improve and maintain the existing seven ‘Taman Kekal Pengeluaran Makanan’ or Permanent Food Production Zone (TKPM) to ensure continuous food production to meet domestic demand.
Three new TKPMs at Kubong, Sg Sebiew, and Tunoh have also been approved and will be implemented in 2023, with a provision of RM1.5 million.
At the same time, the Sarawak government will provide RM10 million for the Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office in Singapore (STATOS) and set up another two trade and tourism offices in Brunei Darussalam and Pontianak, Indonesia, next year.
On smart agriculture, he said the proposed development of Semenggok Sarawak Agro-technology Park (Sartech) under 12MP is expected to commence next year with an allocation of RM1 million, while Tarat Sartech will be funded under Alternative Funding with a sum of RM4 million.
Additionally, a sum of RM975 thousand will be allocated for various ICT and smart farming programmes next year.
Meanwhile, the precision farming park in Rampangi, Kuching; Sg Sebiew, Bintulu and Kabuloh, Miri will be developed to include modern agriculture facilities with a sum of RM21 million under Alternative Funding next year.
On the other hand, Abang Johari said the government had previously approved an allocation of RM50 million for the Sarawak Agro Fund to benefit commercial farmers and industry players in aquaculture, poultry, ruminant and food crops, as well as the food processing industry.
“A sum of RM25 million has been provided this year, and another RM25 million will be allocated in 2023. To date, 27 commercial farmers and agro-preneurs have benefited from this fund,” he emphasised. — DayakDaily