Uggah’s New Year resolution: No time to waste in making Sarawak net food exporter by 2030

Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas

KUCHING, Dec 31: The Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development is aiming to recruit more youths to take up modern farming as a career.

Its minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas pointed out in his New Year message today that courses and training will be organised for youths to be trained to use the Internet of Things (IOTs).

“It will not be the old way of doing things. We are talking about modern precision farming as well as fertigation and hydroponic systems for their superior quality and quantity (produce) and where farm size or farmhands will not be an issue.

“For those interested in bigger farms but without the land, we will create more agro-parks and permanent food production parks to rent out to them.”

The Agriculture Venture Capital financing facility and Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office in Singapore (Statos), he added, were ready to support the agriculture sector which has much untapped potential.

Reminded of the saying ‘time and tide wait for no men’, the Deputy Chief Minister emphasised that Sarawak needs to move faster and do more to transform the agriculture sector in order to achieve Sarawak’s vision of becoming a developed state by 2030.

“As we enter 2020, we will be 10 years away from our grand dream of becoming a net exporter of food and food products. We also aspire to improve our food security position through this transformation. We are in the midst of making the necessary preparations, the infrastructure, the supply chain and the programmes toward these end.

For 2020, Uggah reiterated that his ministry has been allocated a generous budget of RM797 million with priorities to organise, strategise and implement programmes and activities.

He said that the creation of the food basket project belt from Betong to Sarikei Divisions is one of the major ones.

“We also have the very big potential in the regions of Sadok Agropolitan Area, Upper Rajang Development Agency (URDA), Highland Development Agency (HDA), Integrated Regional Samarahan Development Agency (IRSDA) and Northern Region Development Agency (NRDA).

“We have bold plans to turn sprawling hectarage into flourishing durian, pineapple, banana, and coconut orchards and livestock breeding areas,” he added.

To ensure the achievement of these objectives, Uggah stressed that everyone from the farmers, landowners, and even businessmen must play their parts to grab the opportunities that come along as the agriculture sector has been recognised as a new source of wealth.

“The success of this agriculture modernisation will depend on the collaboration of both the private and public sectors, and especially the commitment of agropreneurs,” he asserted.

He also urged all Sarawakians to continue to rally strongly behind the state Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government under the the leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg in ensuring Sarawak gets back what rightfully belongs to the state and protect the sanctity of what is already recognised as theirs.

“A year has passed and 2019 has been a most challenging year but thanks to our resilience, patriotism, unity, our idomitable spirit and the wise leadership of our leaders, we have weathered many storms.

“We have remained strong and focused. Personally, the incoming 2020 holds a lot of promises and opportunities for us. But like 2019, it will be full of challenges. It will be another interesting year,” he added.

He however expressed confidence that Sarawakians who love this beautiful state will be equal to the tasks ahead.

“My family and I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone another happy, successful and blessed year in 2020. With Chinese New Year not far away, we too would like to wish all members of the Chinese community a Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year 2020,” he added. — DayakDaily