Sarawak using anchor company model to propel agro-based industry

Uggah (left) and state Agriculture acting director Dr Alvin Chai (second right) trying out food products made by graduates of the Food Processing Entrepreneurship Course (Baking and Frozen).  

By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, Dec 21: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas welcomes big agro-based industry players with strong market presence to become anchor companies in the state’s agro-based industry.

Uggah, who is also Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, said it would take a long time to train and develop entrepreneurs from the start; hence, these anchor companies would play a vital role in leapfrogging the industry so that the state could become a nett exporter of food products by 2030.

“We have a lot of potentials, and it’s a matter of the right model that we must adopt. That’s why we are adopting the anchor company model, where companies that have upstream experiences like planting, processing facilities as well as market to work with us,” he told reporters after the Food Processing Entrepreneurship Course (Baking and Frozen) Certificate Presentation Ceremony here today.

Uggah (centre), state Agriculture acting director Dr Alvin Chai (second right) and others cutting a cake to celebrate the certificate presentation.
State Agriculture acting director Dr Alvin Chai (right) presents a souvenir to Uggah.

Some of the anchor companies that the state government has engaged so far are Top Fruits Sdn Bhd, who has exported some 16 tonnes of durian paste to China to date, Banana Tree Sdn Bhd, who has exported banana chips to China, and Rimbunan Hijau Group for the development of `kelulut’ or stingless bees’ honey.

Uggah revealed that the state government was also looking for anchor farms to help supply agricultural products, such as pineapples and bananas.

“So far, (the state) just contracted small farmers. We are giving subsidies to the small farmers to produce bananas, which would be supplied to Banana Tree Sdn Bhd for export.

“Which means whatever the farmers plant there is already a buyer, and the buyer is exporting it. That is the direction we are heading.”

To become an anchor company, Uggah said the company must have a market. Once they have it, his ministry would work out the supply so that whatever the farmers’ plant can be marketed.

Uggah (second left) trying out food products made by graduates.

“But like I said, not all the raw products they produce can go into the fresh market. So part of it would be processed and that’s where our programme and training for the development of agro downstream industry comes to play — to prepare our young people so that more will be involved and eventually become their own anchor company.”

Uggah reiterated that the state government had allocated RM19.5 million for his ministry to develop the agro-based downstream industry next year. — DayakDaily