KUCHING, May 31: Sarawakians, especially those from the Dayak community, who are keen to embrace hi-tech agriculture are advised to approach the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development for assistance.
Its minister, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, said the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)-led government was now transforming the agriculture sector with the objective of becoming a net exporter of food products by 2030.
Emphasising that hi-tech agriculture is ‘the trend and a new source of wealth’, Uggah pledged, “My Ministry will give you our fullest support in terms of organising the relevant courses and training, the planting materials, starting grants, subsidies, link to markets and others.”
To other farmers, he advised them to consider crop diversification to act as an alternative source of income when prices of traditional commodities like pepper, oil palm and rubber nosedived.
“The analogy of not putting all your eggs in one basket best exemplifies the situation. My ministry is now promoting alternative crops like durian, pineapple, banana, coconut and maize, all of which have great potential,” he said in his Gawai Dayak message.
On the Gawai Dayak celebration, Uggah, who is also a deputy chief minister, said it is a time for the Dayaks to rejoice in renewing family ties, contributing to racial harmony and a time for Thanksgiving as well.
“Essentially, it is a time for us to reaffirm our commitment to move forward in unity to a much better life ahead,” he said.
Like Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Chinese New Year or Christmas, weeks or days before the Gawai, the Dayak diasporas would make the ‘pulai ke menoa’ or ‘balik kampung’ trip, he noted.
“This will enable the young generation to best know and learn about their culture and tradition at its very root — the longhouse. This is very important for them to appreciate, practise and preserve their cultural identity and heritage,” he commented.
On the holding of ‘open house’ to welcome relatives, friends and guests, Uggah opined that this common tradition should be safeguarded in order to foster the strongest of goodwill, harmony and unity for mutual benefits.
In wishing all Dayaks a very happy Gawai ‘Gayu guru gerai nyamai lantang senang nguan menoa betuah belimpah’, he advised the revellers to “go slow and easy” on the ever-present ‘tuak’ (rice wine). — DayakDaily