30 WIEF participants attend agriculture panel discussion

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Datu k Mohd Naroden Majais (seated second right) together with the Director of Forestry Department Sarawak, Sapuan Ahmad (seated third right) and the WIEF participants after the panel discussion.

KUCHING : Some 30 participants from various countries at the 13th Wor ld Is lami c Economi c Forum (WIEF ) being held at the Borne o Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) at tended a panel di scus s ion on Agr icul ture Te chno l o g y Emp owe r ing Rural Innovat ions, yesterday.

Among the participants was the State Assistant Minister for Entreprenuer and Small and Medium Enterprises ( SME ) Development, Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais. The discussion was chaired by the Director of Forestr y Department Sarawak, Sapuan Ahmad who received suggestions among the participants on the topic. Naroden, who also spoke during the discussion, said he wanted to introduce the go- rura l prog ramme that would invite urban people to start business in the rural areas. “Come to my area, which is just about two hour from Kuching.

There are a lot of land belonging to my community where we can work together to bring investment and knowledge to develop the land,” he added. Naroden explained that Sarawak’s rural people have the land, which is the State’s most important asset.

“However, we don’ t have enough money and manpower to develop the land. “Ou r f a rme r s a r e b a s i – cally 60 years old and above and Sarawak i s 70 per cent rural based. “The Ministry of agriculture is embarking on programmes to disseminate information to the rural areas to replace traditional agriculture with modern agriculture,” he said.

Na ro d en inf o rme d t ha t t h e s t a t e g ov e rnment ha s approved three collection centres in Sarawak – in northern region, central region and in the southern region in Kot a Samarahan. “The functions of the collection centres are: searching for rural products, grading the product s, doing packaging, providing logistics and looking for the right market.

“Farmer do not have to look for the market anymore as the collection centres act as markets which buy all the products and do the grading,” he said. Among other topics di s – cus s ed wa s on l and ba s e d products such as the kelulut honey, which the Minister said i s among the bes t to inves t in Sarawak. “It’s an area we can invest but we do not have the money and enough manp owe r t o develop the indus t r y,” sai d Naroden.

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