KOTA KINABALU: A total of RM534.85 million will be allocated in the 2019 State Budget to develop the agriculture sector.
Additionally, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said the Sabah Government would also allocate another RM142.89 million to the Agriculture Department to continue and increase sub-sectorial crops in Sabah.
He added that the purpose of the allocation was for the development of crops; extension of services; research and development; training; accreditation and programmes related to Good Agricultural Practice for myGAP and myOrganic certification; enforcement and quarantine; farm entrepreneurs and downstream industries; subsidies as well as incentive for producing agricultural produce.
He said that focus would be given on increasing food crops production, particularly rice, fruits and vegetables.
Aside from that, he said the government would also focus on the planting of MD2 Pineapple, MATAG and Tacunan coconut, pisang Sabah and Musang King Durian as these crops have potential in local and export markets.
Similarly, cash crops such as sweet potatoes, peanuts and coffee were also given emphasis to meet the needs of the people and local processing industries such as the renowned “Kopi Tenom”.
And to overcome the scarcity of land for agricultural use, he said the government would develop more Permanent Food Production Parks.
In addition to three already in existent, he said the government planned to start the operation of the park in Masilou in Kundasang next year.
Shafie said that the Sabah Government would also allocate RM19.24 million to manage and implement rural agricultural development programmes under the Rural Development Corporation (KPD) next year.
He said that the allocation was needed to continue the implementation of 24 development projects involving 3,517 project participants throughout Sabah next year.
The Sabah Rubber Industry Board has also been allocated RM35.16 million to manage and implement rubber development programmes next year.
He said that the agency would develop new areas for planting and replanting involving 5,016 hectares of land and 1,483 smallholders throughout Sabah next year.
“Besides that, the board will also continue the maintenance of rubber plantation areas which had been developed in 2014 to 2018 with a total area of 23,076 hectares involving 7,484 smallholders,” he said.
The government will also allocate RM34.81 million to the Fisheries Department and RM12.9 million to Ko-Nelayan next year.
The allocation will be used to develop fisheries commodities, including the production of freshwater fish and marine seed; the management and protection of fishery resources; monitoring and extension services; R&D; training, certification; enforcement and quarantine and others, he said.