LUBOK ANTU (Sept 16): The silver Patin fish from Batang Ai Hydro Dam has a big economic potential and market outside Sarawak, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.
The Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development pointed out that the silver Patin from Batang Ai is the latest gourmet treat from Sarawak to Kuala Lumpur.
The catfish species is sold up to RM130 per kilogramme there, he said when launching the State Agriculture Department Agriculture Community Outreach Programme (AgriCoP) at the Lubok Antu Sports Stadium here yesterday (Tuesday).
“We are now already selling our Batang Ai Tilapia fish to the rather discerning Singapore market. Our Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is himself a strong promoter of our Tilapia.”
“We still have the potential to do more fish cage culture projects in Bakun and Murum dams lakes which we have not really done,” he said.
Uggah said the Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) in Batang Ai would venture into producing fish meal and fish fry to sustain the industry.
On the AgriCOP activity, he said it was to publicise the state Agriculture Department various programmes toward empowering the people to become modern farmers, breeders and fishermen.
“Our Chief Minister has wanted the sector, allocated with a development budget of RM797 million this year, to be transformed into a modern one using high technologies to allow better productivity and income.”
“It is the way forward for Sarawak to achieve its objective of becoming a net food and food products exporter by 2030.”
“He (Abang Johari) also wants the farmers to diversify their activities instead of relying solely on oil palm or pepoer which are often subjected to price up and down in the market,” he stressed.
At the function, Uggah announced an allocation of RM500,000 for more agricultural programmes for Batang Ai.
On politics, Uggah who is a Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) deputy president urged all party members here to give their full support to three-term Batang Ai assemblyman Datuk Malcolm Mussen Lamoh from the GPS component party of Parti Rakyat Sarawak.
He strongly denied claims that a PBB member would challenge Mussen in the coming state election.
In his speech earlier on, Mussen thanked all members of GPS component parties here for their continuous strong support.
“Anyone who wants to be successful will need the support of all others. Batang Ai is still a GPS stronghold,” he said, adding that he is confident that the seat will remain a GPS stronghold in the coming election.