New frontier for sago and nypa cultivation

Fatimah (second right) hands over a cheque to a recipient as others look on.

DALAT: A new sanction was endorsed by the state government recently. A plan proposed three years ago by Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah to form a sago industry development board was accepted and approved by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

In addition to the approval of the proposed sago industry development board, a secondary function, namely the supervision of nipah (nypa) industry development was added to its scope.

Thus, the new agency was named the Sago and Nipah Industry Board of Sarawak.

It was revealed that this new agency will enable growth, production and productivity in the cultivation of sago and nypa, and to be centralized here.

“A complex to house the Sago and Nipah Industry Board has been planned to be built in Dalat,” said Fatimah at a meet-the-pineapple farmer’s session at the community hall here yesterday.

Fatimah, who is also Dalat assemblywoman had proposed for the formation of the Sago Industry Development Board to the deputy chief minister and Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas during the Balau carnival (sago carnival) here around three years ago.

Fatimah then highlighted the matter to Abang Johari a year later, during a political event held at a longhouse here.

Since then, sago smallholders of Dalat and from the Mukah division have waited eagerly for the outcome of the proposal.

The recent approval by the state government for the formation of a new authoritative body was validated by the substantiation of its proposal.

Consolidating two of Sarawak’s agricultural commodities under one single entity, namely the Sago and Nipa Industry Board will give pace to the growth of sago production and nypa palm cultivation throughout the region.

The chief minister also announced a monetary grant for the formation of the sago and Nipa Industry board.

Meanwhile, at yesterday’s event, Fatimah distributed cheques to three religious bodies totalling RM105,000 on behalf of the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor).

Minor rural project grants (cheques) for house improvement (MRP-Program Penambahbaikan Rumah Miskin Sarawak (PPRMS) were also presented to respective recipients at the event.

Other activities held at the meet-the-pineapple farmer’s session included briefings and talks by Malaysian Cooperatives Commission (SKM) Mukah Division economic affairs officer Latifah Zaini and state agriculture deputy director (development sector) Ngab Dollah Salam.

State SKM director Basuini Ali, Dalat district officer Kueh Lei Poh, Mukah division agriculture officer Malissa Bonaventure Lutong and Oya/Dalat Farmers Organisation general manager Pakasa Agat also attended the event.