KUCHING, Nov 23: The Sarawak government has set aside RM33 million to step up cattle, goat and buffalo production next year.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said the State Veterinary Services Department had been tasked to carry out this responsibility.
Uggah, who is also the Minister of the Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, said there was a need for the state to upgrade its livestock industry and there was a major programme to transform and modernise it.
He said this after attending a development briefing at the State Veterinary Services Department Headquarters in Semenggok here.
Also present were its director, Dr Adrian Susin, and Dr Richard Rapu, a political secretary to the Chief Minister.
Uggah said various models like contract farming and the application of technology like artificial insemination would be deployed to boost livestock population.
According to him, artificial insemination could enhance livestock production beyond the normal natural birth rate, and the state’s focus was also to increase its Self Sufficiency Level (SSL) in cattle, goats and buffaloes.
“Now the SSL for cattle is about 10 per cent and seven per cent for goats. But we have enough pigs for domestic consumption.
‘As a matter of fact, up to October this year, we exported about RM30 million worth of live pigs to Singapore,” he said.
On buffalo rearing, Uggah said the focus would be in the Limbang and Lawas areas.
“Our aim is to increase the population to 11,000, like in 2000,” he said, adding that currently, the state had roughly 6,000 buffaloes.
Uggah shared that Limbang and Lawas had great potential for animal rearing as those areas could be accessed through neighbouring Brunei.
“We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Brunei for this. We already have a working relationship with the Brunei Agriculture Department,” he revealed.
Uggah assured that buffalo farmers would be assisted with grants to upgrade the fencing of their farms.
“We will also extend similar grants to those farmers in Bario, where we are interested in domesticating their herd. As of now, the herd are largely left to roam free,” he said.
He is optimistic that all these plans would go a long way to help the government eradicate the remnants of poverty among rural folks besides increasing their income.
Earlier, Uggah also attended a briefing on `Serian Division agricultural development’ at the Serian District Council, given by its divisional officer Garcia Sia Stephen. — DayakDaily