By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 12: Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) can play an important role to help increase the self-sufficiency of ruminant meat in Sarawak by integrating cattle breeding programmes with oil palm plantations.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas pointed out that Sarawak’s self-sufficiency level of ruminant meat like beef, mutton and lamb is only at 12 per cent.
“This means over 80 per cent are imported. We want to reduce imports and increase the meat production locally to supply our market and we hope Salcra can play a role in developing and growing the ruminant industry in Sarawak,” he said.
The Minister of Agriculture Modernisation, Native Land and Regional Development added that in fact, Salcra had started the cattle breeding programme with about 3,000 heads in a few of its estates.
“The programme is run together with the Veterinary Department within the oil palm scheme and they are doing very well. It is a good programme especially to help in reducing cost of maintenance as the animals can graze on the farms.
“This year we are giving them about 600 cattles imported from Australia,” he explained after presenting grants from the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) to houses of worship and religious associations today.
This, he continued, also creates another stream of income for Salcra and farmers in addition to oil palm estate.
On developing Native Customary Rights (NCR) land with oil palm plantation under Salcra, Uggah pointed out that from this year onward, all the land that has developed and after three years of planting must be issued with land titles which will be done in perpetuity and free.
“Salcra brings some benefits to farmers. Apart from land titles, there is also dividends for participants as well as job and business opportunities within Salcra.
“Salcra will continue to play its role and to assist to develop NCR land in Sarawak in the future because some landowners have land but may not have the capital and management skills so Salcra can come in to assist them to develop their land based on Salcra’s in situ model which is different from the NCR joint venture model,” he said.
Uggah hopes that with these policies, it will contribute to the eradication of poverty and increase the income of the farmers. — DayakDaily