Smallholders urged to embrace modern commercial farming to increase exports

Bintulu agriculture officer Anggang Jimbun (right) presenting Uggah with a jackfruit after a briefing at Sg Sebiew, Bintulu.

KUCHING, July 13: Smallholders in Sarawak are urged to invest in modern commercial farming to increase crop exports instead of being importers all the time.

“I know this is going to be very challenging and I need all the assistance and feedback from all elected representatives,” Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas highlighted in his press statement today.

Uggah who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, noted Sarawak’s agricultural stations would undergo review to ensure their relevancy is in sync with the state’s objective to modernise the sector.

He revealed this during a visit to the Sg Sebiew Agriculture Training Centre yesterday, adding that several agricultural projects under the Agriculture Facilitation Fund (AFF) were scheduled to be implemented by end of July in various constituencies after being delayed by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In stating this, Uggah pointed out the need for agricultural stations in Sarawak to expand land under their purview to at least 40 hectares.

“We want them to have demonstration areas to introduce modern farming methods. Now, many such centres have small land to effectively serve their purpose,” he said.

On a related issue, he revealed the ministry’s plan to increase the number of experts in various agricultural fields such as durian cultivation and tree maintenance on top of the review of agriculture extension programmes.

“To me, the programmes are still very important to impart knowledge, advice and training to the farmers in Sarawak.

“Such programmes seem to take a backseat now, but they are still very important in advanced agricultural countries like Taiwan and Thailand,” Uggah added. — DayakDaily