KUCHING: Sarawak is giving focus to research and development (R&D) to produce new species and varieties of orchids.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said this is in view that floriculture can be a high value industry.
“Sarawak is going to take full advantage of the potential offered by technologies in the development and management of agriculture industry, especially for floriculture which can be a high value industry,” he said at the launching of 13th Asia Pacific Orchid Conference (Apoc 13) at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) yesterday, launched by Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
The Chief Minister was represented by Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
Abang Johari pointed out that the floriculture industry in the country has undergone tremendous development over the years, adding that the beautiful and elegant orchids offer major attraction to both local and foreign tourists.
According to him, the state has over 1,000 species of orchids which have been documented, and unique species like Paphiopedilum Sanderianum and Paphiopedilum Stonei are highly sought after by hobbyists, collectors and are used in commercial orchid hybridisation industry.
“Therefore, there is a huge potential for Sarawak as we continue to improve on the research and development, product innovation and commercialisation aspects to meet the rising expectations of discerning customers,” he added.
He also said orchids from the country are exported to Japan, Europe and Australia, and to the United States in the future.
Datuk Bandar of Kuching North Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai said Apoc which was established in 1984 by APOC Trust ranks alongside the prestigious Taiwan International Orchid Show and the World Orchid Conference was the largest orchid conference in the world.
He said Kuching became the first city in the country to host Apoc, which is held once in three years, after winning the bid during the 11th Apoc in Okinawa, Japan in 2013.
Participating countries in Apoc 13 from July 24 to 28 are Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, Myanmar, New Caledonia and Ecuador.
Taib’s wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib, Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin, acting State Secretary Datu Jaul Samion, Apoc president Dennis Kao and Abdul Karim’s wife Datin Zuraini Abdul Jabbar were also present.