Saturday, October 19

Three pronged agriculture thrust


State to focus on cattle rearing, pineapple cultivation and swiftlet farming to boost farmers’ income

KUCHING: Sarawak is looking into three sectors of agriculture – cattle rearing, pineapple cultivation and swiftlet farming – to further boost the income of local farmers, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

He added that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem had been briefed on the matter during their visit to Malaysia Agriculture, Horticulture and Agrotourism (Maha) 2016 exposition that is being held at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park in Serdang (MAEPS) Selangor, yesterday.

“We want to focus on these three sectors, especially in cattle rearing so that we can be more self-sufficient as at the moment we are able to meet only 10 per cent of local demand for beef.

“For this purpose, we will engage the veterinary department to assist us to produce more artificial inseminations so that we can produce bigger cattle for their meat. Our main target is to reduce imported beef and be more self-sufficient in the long run,” Uggah told The Borneo Post here yesterday.

As for pineapple cultivation, Uggah, who is also the Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture and Rural Economy, disclosed that Sarawak planned to become the biggest producer of the fruit in the country in the near future as it had plenty of suitable land to cultivate the crop, especially in Samarahan, Sarikei and Bintangor.

“Currently, Johor is the largest producer of pineapples but they have limited land so we will focus on expanding the acreage so that we can be the main producer in the near future. Once we have the quantity, we can go downstream such as processing them into juice and tarts and even can them for both local market and for export,” said Uggah.

On swiftlet farming, he hoped that the farmers involved in the industry will be able to meet the standard of the China market as it is huge.

“Under our current budget, we have set aside RM2 million for 100 poor farmers to venture into this lucrative market and we hope that it would be able to assist them to succeed,” he stressed.

Uggah was accompanying the Chief Minister to MAEPS Selangor yesterday, during which they made time to visit the Sarawak booth.

Maha is a leading agricultural show in the country to actively promote agriculture and agro-based industries, showcasing all the different components of the fast-growing agricultural industries. The biennial event takes place together with The Farmers, Livestock Producers and Fishermen’s Day (HPPNK).

Meanwhile, it was reported that the Maha 2016 exhibition had recorded 1.5 million visitors over a period of five days.

According to news report, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the highest number of visitors was recorded last Sunday at 560,000.

Maha 2016 themed ‘Our Food, Our Future’, which was officially opened by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Saturday, is expected to draw three million visitors during the duration of the show from Dec 1 to 11.

During the visit, the Chief Minister was accompanied by his wife Datin Patinggi Datuk Amar Jamilah Anu, Uggah’s wife Datin Amar Doreen Mayang, Deputy Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based industries Datuk Anthony Nogeh Gumbek, Deputy Federal Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Datuk Henry Sum Agong and Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture and Rural Development permanent secretary Datu Ngenang Janggu.