TKPM agropreneurs told to develop plots

Uggah (third right) admiring a crawfish produced at the Semenggok Inland Fishery Station with (from left) Dr Gluma Saban from the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development and Chai while Richard is at far right.

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KUCHING, April 2: Agropreneurs in the state who have been given the opportunity to do their farming in any of Tanam Kekal Pengeluaran Makanan or TKPM (Permanent Food Production Park) must develop their plots themselves.

Giving this advice, Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas warned that those who sublet or subcontract the plots to others would risk having their farming rights withdrawn.

“Action would be taken against those found to be not serious in developing their plots,” he reiterated after visiting the Semenggok TKPM here today.

He stressed that the core objective of these parks, which was to produce food in specially dedicated areas, must be upheld and enhanced.

Uggah, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister, informed that there were now 12 such parks in Sarawak and steps would be taken to improve them in term of infrastructure to make them more conducive for their purpose.

“Based on my visit to Semenggok, there are issues that needed to be rectified. I am sure these also apply to the other parks,” he said.

“I have directed the Agriculture Department to look into them and to ensure there are sufficient resources for their maintenance,” he added.

Uggah (left) and Chai (second left) at an okra section of a plot belonging to Alan Wei Hua Fong (second right) at the Semenggok TKPM.

He also urged the department to ensure the selected agropreneurs carry out their programmes properly.

Meanwhile, he was glad to note that the Semenggok park, covering an area of 52 hectares, had attracted young agropreneurs.

“Today I met three of them below 35 years of age. They are among the 10 participants there. This is very encouraging,” he said.

Uggah was accompanied by Agriculture Department director Dr Alvin Chai and a political secretary to the chief minister Dr Richard Rapu during the visit.

Later he also visited the Semenggok Inland Fishery Research Station.

“I have directed the station to focus on research (and production) on ornamental fish which has a big market overseas,” he said.

“I want them to look at some of the beautiful native species that we have in particular like the arowana,” he suggested

Uggah said an incubator would be set up there to develop potential exporters.

Meanwhile, touching on the ‘tagang’ fish conservation programme, he said more would be established statewide. At the moment, the programme has been implemented in more than 77 places statewide.

“This programme is to ensure continuing stock of indigenous fish in our rivers. It will control destructive fishing methods like fish bombing, electrocution and poisoning.

“Thus it is also good for the environment and of course tourism to enable rural folks to earn some income, like in Sabah,” he said.

Uggah expressed hope that more folks will participate in this programme as Sarawak with its many pristine rivers had excellent potential.