KUCHING: The perception of traditional ways of farming needs to be addressed as the agricultural sector is capable of generating high income for households.
Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom encouraged farmers to take advantage of the ample opportunities to turn their agricultural activities into a serious business.
He said the Pertubuhan Peladang Negeri Sarawak (PPNS) and Pertubuhan Peladang Kawasan (PPK) play a crucial role in changing the mindset of the farmers as it has approximately 176,000 members.
“Changing a person’s way of thinking is not an easy thing to do because it must come from oneself – this is a challenge.
“However, we are trying our best because we want our farmers to get a worthwhile return for the work they do.
“Anything that we do needs to be translated into dollars and cents, it would be a waste of time if it is not beneficial or bring profits to them,” he said.
He said this when officiating at the Pertubuhan Peladang Negeri Sarawak (PPNS) 37th annual general meeting today.
Dr Rundi said the local community is still in a comfort zone with assuming that there are plenty of food available.
He revealed that Sarawak’s self-sufficiency ratio (SSR) on food security is still low, stating that rice is at 38 percent from production while the 62 percent are met through importing from other countries.
“This mindset needs to change; the farmers need to embrace the modernisation and utilisation of technology in agriculture to ensure our food security.
“They do not to worry because the government will assist by bringing in the knowledge transfer, technology, marketing and networking among others,” he said.
He pointed out that efforts to modernise and empower the farmers are continuous as the state government is determined for their household income to be at least RM6,000 per month.