Call to exploit state’s potential in agriculture

Lau (third left) handing over souvenir to Tuai Rumah Melina.

SIBU: Agriculture has been the occupation of the majority of the people in Sarawak since the earliest days.

Senator Robert Lau said that in the early days agriculture was meant to produce food for the family

“Over time agriculture has become an economic force and the mainstay of the country’s economy starting with rubber and pepper. Later oil palm took over to give bigger economic returns for the country. 

Nevertheless, Lau said the time had come for Sarawak to move beyond relying on just one crop such as oil palm. 

“We have to explore and promote other tropical agriculture products. There is a huge market for food and fruits from the tropics,” he said.

According to him, Sarawak is the natural fruit basket for Asia. 

“Unfortunately we haven’t exploited this advantage that we have. This is where Agriculture Department has to step in and step up,” he said.

“Sarawak is suitable for agriculture. There are plenty of land, rain and sunshine,” he said at the AgriCOP programme organised by Agriculture Department held at Rumah Melinda, Sungai Apong on Tuesday (Dec 15).

Present at the function was political secretaries to chief minister Romeo Christopher Tegong and Daniel Bujal. There were 145 participants in the two-day programme. 

On the programme, Lau said such event is good and was in the right direction.  

“More need and can be done. But we must stay focus. What is critical is the need to do investment in research and development.

“We have to increase the yield and the only way to do so is to continually improve on the materials such as seedlings and fertilizer usage,” Lau said.

 There is also the need to do better in terms of transportation, storage, marketing and branding, he said.