Agriculture station concept to be reviewed

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BINTULU: The concept of agriculture stations in the state will be reviewed.

Agriculture Modernisation, Native Land and Regional Development Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said this was to ensure they remain relevant and in sync with the state’s objective to modernise the sector.

He said this when visiting the Sg Sebiew Agriculture Training Centre here on Monday (July 13).

The occasion was also to brief Public Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom (Kemena assemblyman), Assistant Minister of Native Law and Customs Datuk John Sikie Tayai (Kakus assemblyman), Samalaju assemblyman Majang Renggie and Murum assemblyman Kennedy Chukpai on various agriculture projects implemented under the ministry’s Agriculture Facilitation Fund (AFF) in their respective constituencies.

Uggah said there was now a need for such centres to have bigger land of at least 40 hectares.

“We want them to have demonstration areas to introduce modern farming methods.

“Now, many such centres have small land to effectively serve their purpose.”

On the same issue, Uggah said it was his ministry’s plan to build up on its pool of experts in various fields like in durian cultivation and tree maintenance.

He added that his ministry too would review its agriculture extension programme.

“To me the programme is still very important…to impart knowledge and advice, and provide training to our farmers.

“Such programmes seem to take a backseat now. 

“In advanced agricultural countries like Taiwan and Thailand, they are still very important,” he said.

Meanwhile, Uggah said if in the past, the focus had been for farmers to produce enough for their consumption or on subsistence farming, the emphasis now was on modern commercial farming.

“We want to mobilise the smallholders. We want to plant/breed more so that we can export and not be an importer all the time.

“I know this is going to be very challenging and I need all the assistance and feedback from all elected representatives.

“When our farmers can produce in great quantity for sale, they would have better income,” he added.

On the AFF projects, Uggah said their implementation had been affected by the movement control order brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We need to catch up and I hope they can be implemented by end of this month.”

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