Uggah (centre) receives a memento from longhouse chief Gansau Antas. Looking on is Assistant Minister of Native Laws and Customs Datuk John Sikie Tayai (left).

BALINGIAN: Modern pig farming can be a big business for the state, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

He said last year the state exported over RM80 million worth of live pigs and pork products to Singapore.

“We are now exporting 1,200 live pigs every week to Singapore which has told us it wants more.

“The industry still has room to grow and we are looking at a few more areas for new developments,” he said.

Uggah, who is also the Minister of Agriculture Modernisation, Native Land and Regional Development, said this at a community agriculture outreach programme at Rh Gansau Antas in Sungai Arip yesterday.

He said the state’s first modern pig farm on a 804-hectare site in Pasir Putih in Simunjan had a population of over 50,000 pigs.

Uggah said Sarawak is free of the foot and mouth disease and the African swine fever which have affected many countries in Asia.

“This is our big advantage, and we still have plenty of land,” he said.

He said two new farms have been proposed at Kelawit near here and in Samarakan in Bintulu for pig farming whereby over 500 hectares and over 1,000 hectares have been identified, respectively.

He said developments will be done by the private investors in collaboration with established pig farm companies.

“Approach your leaders and the relevant agencies to know more as modern farms will not pollute your environment nor affect your health and wellbeing as any farm discharge will be properly managed.

“There will be other strict protocols to follow and the new farms will create job and business opportunities,” he said.

Uggah (centre) receives a memento from longhouse chief Gansau Antas. Looking on is Assistant Minister of Native Laws and Customs Datuk John Sikie Tayai (left).

On the same issue he said there was a shortage of piglets to distribute to longhouse folks who had applied to the Agriculture Department to rear the animals on their own.

“We want to train them in artificial insemination to overcome this issue,” he said.

In the meantime, Uggah also advised durian farmers here to look after their existing trees, saying they needed scheduled fertiliser applications to induce better fruiting.

“The days whereby we left it to nature to do this is no longer applicable. If we want better harvest in the next fruiting season, we must start to care for them,” he said.

He further said more Collecting, Processing and Packaging Centres would be set up in the state.

“We are now exporting durian paste to China. We want to strengthen our supply chain,” he said.

Uggah also said to introduce the concept of modern farming to the people here and that a model fertigation farm (with rain shelter and an open system) had been proposed in Selangau.

He later announced a grant of RM20,000 to the longhouse Village Security and Development Committee and RM2,000 for its Woman Bureau fund.