Premier: S’wak strongly emphasises food production, agriculture R&D to produce quality food
01 Jul 2023
Sarawak will give strong emphasis on research and development (R&D) in its agriculture sector to produce quality food, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
He said the state will have to explore new technology in food production to produce quality food as the world population continues rising.
“As a food producer, we give strong emphasis on R&D on rice and others like prawns. The world population has increased and is roughly about 7 billion now. Some have predicted that by 2050, the world population could go up to 10 billion and this is possible, and it is feared that there will a shortage of quality food as the world population grows.
“This is where we can play our part, by producing quality food. We need more people to specialise in food and the downstream activities of food,” he said at the Ministry of Food Industries, Commodities and Regional Development’s ‘Ngiling Bidai’ event today, which was hosted by its minister at his residence at Jalan Bako, Petra Jaya here.
Abang Johari said Sarawak had to work on reducing its reliance on import so as to enhance its economic performance.
Towards this end, he said the state has to increase its economic productivity and export to prevent seeing weaker Ringgit currency.
“In order to have alternatives, we must produce our own. I have requested Salcra (Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority) to produce our own animal feed to reduce our import,” he said.
The Premier said Sarawak is also going downstream for sago in a bid to give the industry some competitiveness.
“For sago, we go downstream to produce sago flour. As for our rice production, rice is a controlled item, but if we go downstream like producing rice flour, this is not subject to price control,” he said.
Abang Johari recalled that when he first joined the Sarawak state cabinet as assistant minister of agriculture, he noted that the most developed countries in Europe also based their economy on agriculture.
He said with its ample land mass, Sarawak can explore new industries and upgrade basic infrastructure to pave the way for further agriculture-related development.
“We have to be bold enough to spend on upgrading basic infrastructure such as roads for market access and basic water and power supply – this will give ample space to develop agriculture,” he said.
He believed that with the right focus, the agro-based industry will contribute significantly to Sarawak’s gross domestic product and create more downstream jobs by 2026 or 2027.
Among those present were State Legislative Assembly Speaker Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar and Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian.
Source: Borneo Post