By Karen Bong
SIMUNJAN, Jan 10: Sarawak government is currently identifying suitable areas here for the replanting and cutivating of coconut trees, where coconuts are in high demand in the peninsula.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said Sarawak and the country on a whole, are still importing lots of coconuts from Indonesia at current.
“There is a lot of coconut trees along the way to Simunjan, so I think we can identify some areas for replanting coconuts. In addition, we will also set up a collecting centre to ensure these fruits are collected and marketed,” he said at the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA)’s Rindok Digital programme here today.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg was present at the event.
Uggah, who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, said local elected representatives have been told to find suitable plots for the coconut planting project.
“Not only coconuts but Simunjan has the potential to develop other agriculture produce like ‘pisang kepok’, which is also high in demand in the peninsula to make banana fritters, and we will also encourage livestock farming for goats and cows here,” he added.
Uggah encouraged farmers to optimise land use by integrating and diversifying productions with crop mix, as well as livestock.
He said the state government provides various initiatives and assistance to help farmers, smallholders, fishermen and ranchers to generate better income, grow their farms and improve livelihood.
“There is the RM200 million (fund) for venture capital to help potential agropreneurs expand their farms, RM265 million for Agriculture Facilitation Fund to help smallholders affected by current drop in price of primary commodities like rubber, and subsidies for seedlings including Musang King (durian).
“We have also set up the Collection, Processing, and Packaging Centre (CPCC), such as one in Tarat, to help farmers get their products into the intended market. Other than that, state government will organise more training to teach people how to integrate technology into farming,” he continued.
Uggah said precision or smart farming using technology is the way forward to boost and strengthen the agriculture sector in Sarawak towards making the state a net food exporter by 2030. — DayakDaily