Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Two million hectares for food crops

Secara Rawak

KUCHING: Sarawak is targeting to develop two million hectares especially for food crop cultivation.

The move, as reiterated by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, is to enable the state to achieve its target of becoming a net food exporter by 2030.

He said this in his keynote address at the 2019 Sarawak Investment and Business Summit yesterday.

The agricultural sector will be modernised, he said.

“We will use high technology to do smart farming to raise productivity and quality, thus strengthening our supply chain,” he said.

“We will set up more collection, processing and packaging centres (CPPC); do more research and development; provide capital venture for agropreneurs and strengthen our farmers organisations.”

He pointed out that the state has a strategic location, tropical climate with plenty of rain and an industrious workforce.

Uggah, who is also Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Minister, said the main driver of the agricultural transformation would be the private sector.

“We want a strong partnership with them,” he said.

On its other advantages, he said the state was free of the hand, foot and mouth disease as well as the African swine fever currently plaguing China, Vietnam, South Korea, Cambodia, Laos and several Eastern Europe countries.

“Thus we are able to export 1,200 live pigs to Singapore every week. We take our bio-security very seriously and have strict measures in place at all entry points,” he said.

On the two million hectares, Uggah said they were within its four regional development areas — Upper Rejang Development Agency (URDA), Highland Development Agency (HDA), Northern Region Developmentt Agency (NRDA) and the Integrated Regional Samarahan Development Agency (IRSDA).

“We also have land in Sadok Agropolitan areas and the Food Basket Areas (between Betong and Sarikei divisions) and the Pig Farming Areas,” he said.

Sarawak, he said, had achieved 97 per cent self-sufficiency in fish, poultry and eggs (90 per cent), fruits and vegetables (57 per cent), rice (51 per cent), beef (11 per cent) and mutton (5 per cent).

On the state’s trade deficit, he said in 2017 it was RM3.6 million and last year it was RM1 billion.

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