ASAJAYA: Villagers are urged to embark on farming and production of banana products through their village cooperatives.

Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said those who have banana farms could be trained in modern agriculture by the cooperatives.

“Once they are trained, they would be able to improve their banana cultivation through modern technologies such as using drones in spraying and fertilising their plants.

“Therefore, I hope the community leaders and YBs (elected representatives) would be able to turn this cooperation into a reality so that the small farmers would be able to improve their banana crop yields.

“At the end of the day, the local folk would have the knowledge in utilising modern technology to implement better agricultural activity in terms of cultivation, processing, packaging and sales,” he said.

He was officiating at an exploration programme held at the Cavendish banana plantation owned by Koperasi Penduduk Daerah Asajaya Berhad (KPDAB) near here today.

Wan Junaidi encouraged local farmers to expand their market outside of Asajaya which subsequently would contribute in developing the state into becoming a global food production hub.

He also advised the local farmers to buy shares in cooperatives instead of only being members so that at the end of the day, they would be able to benefit from the dividends as shareholders.

The minister said cooperatives have the resources to potentially be one of the driving force in developing the state’s food sector further by investing in more commercial scale agriculture-based businesses.

As of Dec 31 last year, there were 1,077 cooperatives in Sarawak, with close to 300,000 members. During the period, the cooperatives in the state registered RM240.52 million in revenue, with total assets valued at RM636.14 million.