State looking to mass produce, becoming less dependent on imported food

Uggah (second right) trying out the made-in-Sarawak banana chips to be exported to China.

KUCHING, Oct 18: The state agriculture ministry is looking into various food products being imported in large quantities, to be produced and manufactured in the state.

Ministry for Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Minister, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, expressed content that the agricultural sector has been developing at a satisfactory pace.

However, a lot needed to be done if the state were to become a nett food exporter by 2030, he said.

“For 2018 we have a nett import of RM3.8 billion of food products, with corn being the biggest at almost RM350 million. Beef for instance, we are just at 10 per cent sufficiency level. Our mutton are also very low sufficiency.

“We are looking into the various products that we are now importing big quantities, so that we can produce, grow and develop them in Sarawak. That is our focus.

“We have done very well in the pig industry, where we are now exporting about 1,200 live pigs per week. Last year we have exported almost RM50 million worth of pigs and pork products. So we are looking at what is our competitive advantage,” he told reporters at Senari Port at Bako, here, today.

The deputy chief minister was launching the export of “banaBee banana chips” by local company MyBanabee (M) Sdn Bhd to Guangzhao, China.

Uggah (second right) and MyBanabee (M) Sdn Bhd chairman ThoTze Bing (left) showing the Sarawak-made banaBee banana chips to be exported to China.

Uggah said Sarawak has been the most preferred source of pigs and pork products in the Southeast Asian region because Sarawak’s pigs are free from diseases such as the recent epidemic of the African swine flu, which had infected millions of pigs in China, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.

He added that Sarawak is only one of two regions in the Southeast Asian region able to export live pigs to Singapore.

“Singapore is also very stringent (in its standards). That’s why we are now putting very strict measures to our borders, especially our airports.

“We are banning all pork products brought into Sarawak in whatever form. The reason is now the world is being infected by African swine flu. We must make sure that our biosecurity must be strengthened and I appeal to everyone to cooperate,” said Uggah.

He added: “If we want dried pork (bak kwa) no need to buy from Kuala Lumpur. It is not difficult to make (locally). So until then, there is a total ban. If you bring any pork products (from outside Sarawak) into the airport, we have to confiscate it because one of the ways the African swine flu spread is through the meat of the infected pork.” — DayakDaily