KUCHING, Dec 31 ― In his New Year’s message today, Sarawak Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said his ministry will recruit youths to take up modern farming as a career.
He said after recruitment, they will attend the necessary courses and training such as on the usage of the Internet of Things (IoT).
“What we are talking about is for them to be involved in modern precision farming such as the applications of fertigation and hydroponic systems to produce superior quality and quantity products and where farm size or farm hand will not be an issue,” said Amar, who is also the deputy chief minister.
“For those interested in bigger farms but without the land, we will create more agro-parks and permanent food production parks to rent out to them,” he said, adding that the state government is also providing a venture capital financing facility for interested agro-preneurs.
Uggah said the target is for Sarawak to be a net exporter of food and food products by 2030.
“At the same time we also aspire to improve our food security position through this agriculture transformation,” he said, stressing that the state government is putting in place the necessary preparations, infrastructure, supply chain and programmes towards this end.
Uggah said his ministry has been allocated a budget of RM797 million for 2020, adding that the priorities are to organise, strategise and implement the programmes and activities.
He said the creation of the food basket project belt from Betong to Sarikei Divisions is one of the big ones
“We also have the very big potential in the regions of Sadok Agropolitan Area, Upper Rajang development Agency, Highland Development Agency, Integrated Regional Samarahan Development Agency and Northern Region Development Agency.
“We have bold plans to turn these sprawling hectarages into a flourishing durian, pineapple, banana, and coconut orchards and livestock breeding areas,” he said as he called on farmers, landowners, businessmen to play their parts to grab the opportunities that come alone.
He noted the agriculture sector has been recognised as a new source of wealth for the state and the country, and that the success of agriculture modernisation will depend on the collaboration of both the private and public sectors especially the commitment of agro-preneurs.
Uggah, who is also the state disaster management committee chairman, said the state has remained free of the deadly African Swine Fever affecting the pigs.
“But the fight is still not over yet as the disease continues to plague and ravage more countries worldwide,” he said.