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KUCHING, April 5: The Department of Agriculture will be looking at plans and proposals from relevant departments and agencies to speed up the development of Bukit Sadok Agropolitan and Betong-Sarikei Food Basket Areas projects.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the proposals would be presented to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg by month end.
“I am rather disappointed that not much has taken place in the agropolitan compared to other similar agencies. The time has come for us to come up with concrete plans and proposals in order for these two projects to become a reality,” he said at a meeting of the various departments and agencies involved today.
“We may need to set up a specific development agency to oversee or manage the development.”
Things that needed to be looked into include constructing a better road network, proper drainage system and also identifying soil types and suitable crops to be planted.
“Then we will decide on the business model to use,” he said.
Currently, there is a sizable oil palm, rubber, coconut, sago, Nipah palm and durian cultivation there.
“But I believe the huge areas have very big potential for pineapple and bananas besides vegetables and livestock farming,” he said.
Uggah said it was the aim of the state government to be a net exporter of food products by 2030.
He said Sarawak had recorded some successes as it had last year alone exported RM45 million worth of live pigs to Singapore, besides durian paste to China and `Pisang Kapok’ to the peninsula.
He reiterated that the state government was serious in developing the areas.
“This is evident by the fact that it has decided to buy a transport aeroplane and given its approval for an airstrip to be built in Betong Division. Any farm products can then be transported very fresh and fast to the markets,” he said.
In addition, Uggah said the government also wanted rural people to earn RM4,000 and above each month through modern farming.
“This will help us to eradicate the remnants of poverty in the state,” he explained.
Also present at the meeting were Pakan assemblyman Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom, Kalaka assemblyman Datuk Abdul Wahab Aziz, Beting Maro assemblyman Razaili Gapor and Layar assemblyman Gerald Rentap Jabu. — DayakDaily