Whole area of 400 acres to be developed for wet padi cultivation once scheme is completed
KAPIT: Sungai Tunoh has the potential to become a major rice producer for Sarawak, said Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing.
He pointed out that the area is suitable for large-scale commercial wet padi cultivation as the land is flat and very fertile, so farmers do not require fertiliser.
“The whole area, 400 acres, is to be developed for wet padi cultivation once the DID (Drainage and Irrigation Department) scheme is completed. Now five acres under the pilot project of full mechanisation farming, from soil ploughing to harvesting, is fully done with machinery.
“Here, it is intensive machinery and not the traditional method of depending on labour,” he told The Borneo Post during a visit to the project under Ceria Group Berhad recently.Masing said Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud had visited Tunoh and was very keen to see the area fully developed into a “beautiful inland township”.
At present, the Baleh state seat of which Masing is assemblyman, is the only constituency in Malaysia without a town.
“To develop a town, first of all the population must be increased fivefold from the present 1,000 to 5,000 people at least. Shop houses, government agencies must be built.
That’s why I stressed on road connectivity. Once the Mujong Bridge is built and the access road to the Baleh hydro dam is completed, then we have easy access to Tunoh,” he explained.
“It would be an integrated development of agro-centre and eco-tourism.
“Behind Tunoh is Bukit Mambong, part of the Hose Mountain Range. The highest peak is 7,000 feet. There’s a beautiful waterfall. Facilitates like guest houses or homestays will be built to attract tourists to come here.”
He said the government has proposed to set up a wildlife sanctuary at Bukit Mambong covering some 200,000ha.
There are five longhouses in the area – Rumah Tani, Rumah Chen, Rumah Killau, Rumah Agam and Rumah Ungke. SK Sungai Tunoh has 14 teachers who serve over 100 pupils.