DALAT: The mindset of society, especially farmers, need to change and they need to embrace technological advances and accept that money can be made from agriculture.
Making this call, Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture and Regional Development Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom hoped that society would be forward thinking and engage in agricultural activities.
“As Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture, I feel this is the time for me to do something for this industry so that all profits will give a return to those involved as sago is identified and planned to be developed here.
“This means we must do something and there must be a return, in the system, we see why some remain poor with developed agriculture due to the same old system and mentality,” he said during his working visit to Craun Research Dalat on Wednesday (June 22).
He said that in Malaysia, the thoughts of the people when they mention the children of farmers are frowned upon but different in Australia as the image shown by the farming community in the latter shows that they can be rich because of the consumption of existing technology.
“We also do not have a system that can provide a good return, so as a minister we are looking at how we can do something with the agro-industry, food and agro-entrepreneurship.
“At the same time, we are also ensuring that food is provided on the table and does not cause hunger. Surely, the aspect of food safety is now being faced by the Malaysian government.
“For example, now in Sarawak, we see many farmers are willing to work because it gives a profitable return due to the known fact that this oil palm has a full supply chain in terms of the best commercialisation, research and development (R&D) and marketing.”
He hinted that if the same measures were emphasized on other crops such as sago, coconut, pineapple, durian and banana, it could give great returns.
“That is why we are now also learning from foreign countries such as Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and others, including the Netherlands. For example, we see how they change the tulip crop which can bring billions in returns to their country every year and be processed into various other by-products.
“Like this Sago Craun Research as R&D and we need a full supply chain. I believe the smallholders here are able to do their best for this period and the future of this industry.”
He believed the target to make Sarawak a major exporter by 2030 can be realised if the quality of agricultural products can be controlled and in line with the establishment of the Nipah and Sago Board which has been approved by him will continue to help and detail the development of sago industry to bring profit and revenue to Sarawak.