KUCHING, Nov 29 ― The Ministry of Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Sarawak (MFICORD) is targeting RM1 billion export earnings from the state’s fisheries and aquaculture industry by 2030.

According to the minister Datuk Seri Stephen Rundi Utom, the focus would be on shrimp farming.

“Between 2018 and 2022, there has been a slight increase in the production of fisheries products including shrimps, resulting in the increase of fisheries export value from RM238 million in 2018 to RM239 million in 2022.

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“For the aquaculture sub-sector, Sarawak produced 14,102 metric tonnes with a value of RM194 million in 2022.

“The aquaculture sector is poised for rapid development towards achieving our aspiration to make Sarawak a net exporter of food by 2030,” he said during the DUN sitting here yesterday.

Rundi also highlighted his ministry’s goal of expanding aquaculture land from the current 1,200 hectares to 7,000 hectares in order to achieve this goal.

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Four areas in Sarawak have been designated as Aquaculture Industrial Zones (AIZs), with Batang Ai AIZ emerging as a key freshwater fish production hub, supplying 60 per cent (953.89 metric tonnes) of tilapia in Sarawak.

It also has 146 smallholders and a private company with 14,000 cage units.

Meanwhile, Loba Stoh Aquaculture Park in Rambungan AIZ is set to become Sarawak’s shrimp belt, with RM52 million allocated by the government for infrastructure upgrades. It is currently in its final design stage and expected to commence operation in the third quarter of next year.

State Farmers Organisation (PPNS) and a local shrimp farm company are currently developing a 298-hectare site in Loba Stoh, aiming for 100 metric tonnes of shrimps worth RM1.8 million by end of next year, and 800 metric tonnes worth RM14 million by 2027.

Rundi also spoke about initiatives run by his ministry, including the establishment of the Empurau Belt and Tapah Belt, with plans for a fish hatchery centre and inland fisheries station in Kapit and Song, and Tapah fry production in Binyo, Bintulu. ― Borneo Post