Sunday, September 19

Agriculture dept told to buck up, justify its large allocation


Uggah (front, fourth left) in a photo call with dignitaries and guests at the start of the appreciation dinner.

MIRI: The state Agriculture Department has been told that it needs to improve on its performance if it hopes to turn Sarawak into a net exporter of food by 2030.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said he regretted the fact that the department’s performance has not been satisfactory and did not justify the large allocation given to it.

“We have been given RM376 million for 2019. Now is July and we have a few months left (until the end of the year). I’m sure we can do it (hit set targets) and start rectifying problems and issues affecting us,” he said in his speech during the department’s appreciation dinner, here on Friday.

The dinner saw 148 Agriculture Department staff receive excellence service awards, while 80 staff who are due to retire next year were also honoured.

Uggah, who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, said although the target set for the department in very high, it could be achieved with the implementation of high technology such as fertigation system coupled with effective approaches like crop rehabilitation, setting-up of more community enterprises through area farmers organisations, upgrading the existing 140 agriculture stations in the state, as well as increasing the number of agriculture extension officers.

Among those present at the dinner were Assistant Minister of Women, Family and Childhood Development Rosey Yunus, Assistant Minister of Local Government Datu Dr Penguang Manggil, Sibuti MP Lukanisman Awang Sauni, Piasau assemblyman Datuk Sebastian Ting, and state Agriculture Department acting director Dr Alvin Chai Lian Kuet.