Wednesday, March 20

RM100m venture capital for use of technology in agriculture – Uggah


KUCHING: The RM100-million venture capital to be introduced by the state government will be for the utilisation and upgrading of technology in agriculture.

In disclosing this, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said as Sarawak moves towards modernising its agriculture sector, it would have to go into high agro-technology.

“Therefore, if we find that there is agriculture technology that has the potential to be developed, we will use the money to invest in it.

“As our emphasis now is to commercialise and modernise our agriculture, we are moving away from our old traditional farming to high-tech, into precision, into smart farming and so on and so forth,” he told a press conference after launching the seminar on sustainable, quality and safe agriculture production here yesterday.

Uggah, who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture and Rural Economy, said the fund would be managed by the state government-owned company, Sarawak Agriculture Products Export Corporation.

He said the corporation would take up equity in promoted agriculture production projects which are properly planned and managed for the purpose of utilising and upgrading technology.

He said once the projects are commercially viable and making money, the corporation would withdraw its equity and let the various stakeholders run the projects on their own.

“The stakeholders could be farmers, landowners and investors. This is an alternative of assisting them, especially smallholders, who may not have the capital to invest in agriculture technology,” he said.

“In other words, we are building them up more. This new direction is slightly different from our Salcra (Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority) or Felda (Federal Land Development Authority) .”

Uggah said the RM100-million venture capital or seed fund was announced by Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg in Spaoh two weeks ago.