KUCHING, June 17 — The Sarawak government is making use of the state’s huge landmass to transform the way it farms so it can become a net food exporter within the next 11 years.
Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg said the state is keen for its farmers to embrace technology to increase its food production.
“To start off, we have to upgrade our internet infrastructure, of which we have allocated RM1 billion to be spent within two years,” he said at the joint Gawai Dayak and Hari Raya gathering hosted by Sarawak Energy Berhad here today.
He said the state government is constructing 300 telecommunication towers this year and another 300 towers next year, adding that the towers will enable to cover high speed internet in the rural areas.
“From then on, with our power supply, we will be able to improve the process of our agriculture sector and that will be the main economy in the rural areas,” he said.
With all the ingredients, such as land, technology and electricity in place, he said Sarawak can also supply food for the rest of Malaysia for export and rely less on the import of food and food products.
He said Malaysia imports about RM30 billion on food and food products yearly, based on the figures available from the federal government.
He said that by reducing food imports, living costs will naturally drop.
“This is a new dimension in our economic development. I think it is only fair we must provide basic infrastructure in the rural areas as the potential main producer of agricultural products,” he said.