Sarawak to set up centre of excellence in modern agriculture

Dr Abdul Rahman striking a gong to launch ROPM 2018, witnessed by (from left) Chai, Rolland, Ik Pahon and Ngap.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 4: If everything goes well, a centre of excellence in modern agriculture will be set up at the Rampangi Agriculture Station soon.

It would be the first of its kind in the state, and probably in the country, as well.

Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development (Manred) Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the proposed centre would serve as a one-stop centre for research and development on digital technology in agriculture.

“I am glad to know that the Department of Agriculture has already had discussions with consultants to come up with the concept for the centre,” he said at the launching of Research Officers’ Progress Meeting (ROPM) 2018 here today.

His text-of-speech was read out by Assistant Minister of Agriculture Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail.

Uggah, who is also a Deputy Chief Minister, said when the centre becomes operational, he anticipated that research officers from the department could conduct more studies that incorporates digital technology and Internet of Things (IoT).

On a proposal by research officers from the Inland Fisheries to use sensor technology in their research on indigenous fish in its natural habitat, Uggah urged the relevant authority to support their application so that this digital project could take off soon.

Sharing his vision on transforming the highlands of Sarawak into commercial agriculture areas of sub-tropical and temperate horticultural crops, he said he had directed the department to reactivate its station in Bario to conduct research on selected crops.

“The highlands of Sarawak have great potential for cultivation of sub-tropical and temperate crops.

“With strong support from the government and the department, and, hopefully, participation by the private sector, the highlands could be transformed into commercial agriculture areas,” he added.

Among the potential crops that could thrive well in the area, he observed, include broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, strawberry and grape.

“The state is importing a substantial volume of flowers from Peninsular Malaysia and overseas,” he said and suggested that research officers also look into floriculture research in Bario.

ROPM is an annual event for research officers from the Crop Research Division, Inland Fisheries Division and Soil Management Branch of Department of Agriculture Sarawak.

The objectives of the 3-day programme, which started today, were for research officers to present their research findings for information and benefit of officers in the department and present progress of their current research projects and proposals for the coming year.

Assistant Minister of Native Land Development Datuk Rolland Sagah Wee Inn, Permanent Secretary to Manred Datu Ik Pahon Joyik, acting director of Agriculture Sarawak Dr Alvin Chai, deputy director of Commercialisation Ngap Dollah as well as senior officers from Manred and the department were among those present. — DayakDaily