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By Christopher Lidom
KUCHING, June 27: Get rid of the perception that agricultural activities involve farmers wearing straw hats and carrying a hoe with grunted faces, said Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Abang Johari said the agricultural industry is no longer a bottom-tier industry, as it is now a top industry that can provide returns to the State and the people.
“Who wants to be involved with agriculture if you have that outdated perception? But if you use technology such as a command centre, Internet of Things (IoT), and high-tech devices, this will attract the younger generation to be involved in the industry.
“By utilising technology, we can also produce fertiliser from raw materials for livestock and plant materials,” he told reporters after officiating at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak’s (Unimas) Commemorative Convocation Ceremony held at Arena Gemilang, DeTAR Putra in Unimas today.
Abang Johari added that Sarawak has the land and areas that can be used for the State’s agricultural development.
“So, I think it is unreasonable to not produce food with the ‘strength’ we have. The input for agriculture is readily available in Unimas; it’s just a matter of convincing the farmers, including the young generation, to consider agriculture a business entity,” he said.
Abang Johari also said he has discussed with Unimas on setting up a laboratory in the rural area to assist farmers.
The laboratory, he added, can train the community in the area, especially young farmers.
“Apart from that, we can also conduct studies on livestock feed, where it is not necessary to depend on corn because we have palm kernel waste that can be turned into animal feed.
“As for fertiliser, there is a gas that can produce it (fertiliser), which means that all our raw materials can be made and used for our agriculture industry.
“Lastly, you don’t have to rely 100 per cent on import products. So we are producing it on our own,” he explained. — DayakDaily