Thursday, September 19

Oyster mushroom nursery in Papar next year

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KOTA KINABALU: Two new nurseries will be built next year to facilitate the growth of oyster mushroom and vegetation cultivated through tissue culture techniques, by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) in collaboration with the Agro-Biotechnology Institute, Malaysia (ABI).

Its minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Madius Tangau, said that the facilities, which are set to be built in Tuaran and Papar, will begin construction by February next year so that it may serve as a hub for entrepreneurs to receive training in tissue culture.

The tissue culture nursery in Tuaran and the oyster mushroom nursery in Papar, which will be dubbed SMART Mushroom House, will be complete with fertigation systems that will allow entrepreneurs to use the technology and at the same time provide inspiration, particularly for modern agriculture development, said Madius.

He also said that he plans to achieve a more comprehensive approach next year with the help and support of various agencies.

“In the end, what we want are entrepreneurs who are able to run their businesses with assistance in terms of facilities such as marketing from the Rural Development Corporation (KPD), technology from ABI and funding from MOSTI.

“We also want to see how we can work together with other agencies and sources to finance these entrepreneurs to develop their businesses through technology,” said Madius.

He emphasised the need for this comprehensive programme as some entrepreneurs have the technology but lack the funding, which in turn compromises sales.

“Take ginger fertigation as an example. There is a lot of potential to cultivate ginger, but it requires at least RM15,000 for the technology alone while implementation will need another RM20,000 before the product is even marketed, which will incur more costs.

“This is why we need help, and this is where the National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS) comes in. Only then can we help entrepreneurs and the rakyat as a whole,” said Madius.

Not only is financing a fundamental aspect in ensuring the growth and prosperity of local agricultural efforts, training is important as well.

Madius said that entrepreneurs are readily available, but they require training and oversight to assure correct business practices using the proper technology.

Leading up to the completion of the nurseries, MOSTI in collaboration with ABI-NIBM (National Institutes of Biotechnology Malaysia), Koperasi Belia Rakyat (KOBERA), Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) and KPD yesterday organised a workshop entitled ‘Transfer of Modern Technology: Tissue Culture Technology and Cultivation of Mushrooms Stimulate the Economy of Sabahans.’

The workshop comprised two parts, ‘Plant Tissue Culture Technology Workshop for Young Entrepreneurs’ and ‘Rural Entrepreneurs Development Workshop in Mushroom Cultivation,’ which were aimed at training young and rural entrepreneurs from Tuaran and Papar, respectively, to produce plant seeds using tissue culture techniques.

In addition, the 200 participants were also exposed to information regarding the preparation of fertigation systems for vegetables, on top of being equipped with comprehensive training in mushroom cultivation.

Madius added that the workshop was also so that ABI can see for itself the potential of the pilot programme.

“What’s important is that the entrepreneurs receive continuous training, and we have to ensure that this unprecedented nursery will produce results.

“We also want to see these entrepreneurs nurture their trade not only with a business mindset, but by incorporating technology into it as well.

“They need to make use of technology to increase productivity, which in turn will contribute to their revenue because marketing is equally important,” he said.

Also present at yesterday’s workshop were ABI executive director Professor Dr Muhamad Zakaria, SEDIA chief executive representative Mary Sintoh, KPD general manager Datuk Basrun Datu Mansor and KOBERA chairman, Daukim Gilu.