KUCHING, Oct 3 — The state and federal governments will allocate RM20 million for a sago smallholding subsidy this year to boost flagging output, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said today.
He also said he will discuss a proposal with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari to form an international sago research centre in Sarawak.
He said the state government must intensify research and development in the area, especially to increase starch yield and reduce the gestation period of sago from 10 to 15 years now to five years or fewer.
He further said the industry needed to reduce costs and innovate for greater yields.
“The challenges remain in the improvement in quality of ago starch and added-value sago products in order to compete in the global market, not only in the upstream areas but also the down-stream,” he told reporters after opening the 13th International Sago Symposium organised by Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Sarawak campus, here.
Earlier, Uggah witnessed the signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) between UiTM and the Society of Sago Palm Studies of Japan in areas of exchanging materials, publications and information on international projects.
The MoU also enables the two parties to set up joint ventures in applied research, research-based education, seminars and educational programmes.
UiTM was represented by its Sarawak campus rector Professor Datuk Jamil Hamali while the Society of Sago Palm Studies of Japan was represented by its president Professor Hiroshi Ehara.