Sikie talks during the outreach programme.

KUCHING: Agriculture is one way for rural people to increase their income, said Native Laws and Customs Assistant Minister Datuk John Sikie Tayai.

He said this during an official Agriculture Community Outreach Programme (AgriCOP) in Rh Garit, Begeri, Jalan Selangau Mukah, Selangau today.

“Vacant lands should be developed with agricultural activities be it planting of palm trees, vegetables, peppers, rubber or fruit crops.

“Agricultural activities are a way for the community to increase their income. This is in line with the state government’s goal for every household in Sarawak to have an income of at least RM4,000,” he said

The state government recently announced its target to triple the current household income from RM5,000 to RM16,000 by 2030.

The two-day programme (Oct 14 to Oct 15) was organised by the Agricultural Department Mukah Division to equipped farmers with knowledge on the right ways to plant and take care of their crops.

“This programme is very beneficial for farmers so I urged that the new knowledge that has been acquired through this programme to be properly utilised.

“The government is also providing various subsidies the Department of Agriculture and Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPO), which farmers are encouraged to apply for assistance such as farm roads and agricultural inputs,” he added.

The Kakus assemblyman also said that the local community should establish an Area Development Committee (ADC).

“For areas that are far from the road connectivity, it should be developed through a joint-venture with companies and investors that are interested.

“Through the establishment of ADC, matters regarding the areas such as profit distribution through bonuses, dividend or rental can be discussed in accordance with the agreement by landowners and investors who operate it,” he said.

He added that the areas should be developed instead of being left unattended so that the proceeds from the joint ventures can be used as capital to further the development of the areas which are far from road connectivity.

Besides that, he also announced a minor rural project (MRP) grant worth RM10,000 to the Women’s Bureau of the village development and security committee (JKKK) Rh Garit as well as congratulated five village chiefs (tuai rumah) who were recently appointed in Kakus under the administration of the Baligian subdistrict.

Also present were acting district officer of Mukah, Peleadzman Ahip; Mukah division agriculture officer Melissa Bonaventure; general manager of Mukah Area Farmers Organisation, Jamaluddin Ago; political secretary to Sarawak Chief Minister, Edwin Banta; and representative of Garit village chief Nelson Chuat Glong.