Tuesday, July 14

Ministry hopes to see many youths take up farming in 2020

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KUCHING: The Ministry of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development aims to encourage as many youths to take up farming as a career in 2020, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who also holds this ministerial portfolio.

However, he also points out that it would not be, by any account, ‘the old way of doing things’.

“We are talking about modern precision farming, of the fertigation and hydroponic systems for their superior quality and quantity where farm size or farm hand would not be an issue.

Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas

“We will train the youths in the usage of Internet of Things (IoT). We will organise the necessary courses and training,” he said in his New Year message, released yesterday.

Uggah added that for those interested in bigger farms but were without any land, the ministry would create more agroparks and permanent food production parks to rent out to them.

“We are ready with the agriculture venture capital financing facility too,” he said.

Uggah further said for 2020, the ministry had been allocated a generous budget of RM797 million, and its priorities would be to organise, strategise and implement programmes and activities.

He pointed out the creation of the food basket project belt from Betong to Sarikei divisions as one of the key projects, and there was very big potential in the regions of Sadok Agropolitan Area, Upper Rajang Development Agency, Highland Development Agency, the Integrated Regional Samarahan Development Agency and the Northern Region Development Agency.

“We have bold plans to turn these sprawling hectareages into flourishing durian, pineapple, banana, and coconut orchards as well as livestock breeding areas.

“To ensure the achievement of these objectives, everyone – from the farmers, landowners to the businessmen – must play their part in grabbing the opportunities that come along.

“The agriculture sector has been recognised as a new source of wealth and its success will depend on the collaboration of both the private and public sectors, especially the commitment of agropreneurs,” he said.

Uggah thanked all agencies and departments involved, especially the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS), for their roles in keeping the deadly African Swine Fever away from Sarawak’s shores and borders, noting that the fight was still not over yet as the disease continued to plague and ravage more countries worldwide.

He also acknowledged the cooperation and commitment of various departments, agencies and non-governmental organisations across Sarawak in battling rabies.

Uggah further noted that 2020 would hold a lot of promises and opportunities but like 2019, it would also be full of challenges.

“It will be another interesting year. I am confident Sarawakians who love this beautiful state will be equal to the tasks ahead.

“Therefore, I appeal to all Sarawakians to continue to rally strongly behind the GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak)-led government, under the leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, in ensuring that we get back what are rightly ours and protecting the sanctity of what are already recognised as ours,” he said.