KUCHING, Nov 17: Sarawak’s contribution towards the national agriculture sector improved from third in 2010 to first place in 2016.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the contribution of the state increased from RM11.8 billion or 14.3 per cent in 2010 to RM14.7 billion or 16.8 per cent in 2016.
“At the state level, the agriculture sector contributed 13.5 per cent to state GDP in 2016. Crops contributed 68.1 per cent, livestock at 4.5 per cent, fisheries at five per cent, and forestry and logging at 22.4 per cent,” Uggah said in his winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly today.
The growth in the crops sub-sector was mainly driven by commodities, especially oil palm, rubber, pepper and sago while poultry and swine were the main contributors to the growth of the livestock sub-sector.
On the other hand, the state’s food trade balance deficit increased, from a deficit of RM2.2 billion in 2010 to RM3.3 billion in 2016.
This was due to the substantial import of cereals and animal feed products.
“Based on these facts, we need to increase our food production, especially rice, cereals, animal feed, beef, mutton and dairy products. At the same time, we need to develop other commodities and high value crops such as durian, coconut, pineapple and banana. These crops have huge potential for export markets.
“Ultimately this is to achieve our objective to become a net exporter of food and food products,” Uggah said.
He gave assurance that these issues and challenges are being addressed by his ministry through the transformation of the state’s agriculture sector by modernisation through digital technology to increase production and commercialisation by expanding the markets for local agricultural produce.
“Our agriculture (activities) must be private sector driven as they have the latest technologies, huge capital, management skills and more importantly readily available global market access for agricultural produce and products. Rest assured, my ministry will be there to facilitate their investment in the state agriculture sector and to effectively organise our farmers to participate in agriculture business ventures,” Uggah said.
Meanwhile, the state government has approved RM223 million to develop the agriculture sector which will be complemented by federal funding of which the amount can only be ascertained later after discussion with the relevant federal ministries.
The funding approved will be utilised to ultimately help improve the livelihood of farmers, breeders and fishermen in the state. — DayakDaily