KUCHING: The youths are encouraged to participate in the agriculture sector or farming industry.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said one of the development goals for the state agriculture sector was to increase youth participation in agriculture.
“This is a means of addressing the problem of our ageing and declining farming population,” he said in his agriculture message for 2019 at UCSI Hotel here yesterday.
He added that introducing agriculture to the youths would also help to solve their job problems.
“Hence, we want to bring more young people into the farming industry and for them to become agro-entrepreneurs.
“At the moment, from a survey it is discovered that a high percentage of our farmers are 55 years old and above,” he said, adding that youth participation in the agriculture sector was important as there would be more youths handling and working in the farms.
Uggah added that they were developing agriculture entrepreneurship among the youths and working on some programmes with the federal government to make sure that the youths would also be able to participate and develop their interest in agriculture.
“Besides, one of our focuses now is to build a supply chain because we will have problems without it.
“We may be able to produce a product but we may not be able to market it. This is what is happening in our agriculture sector at the moment,” he said.
He added that the state also needed to have a processing centre that is internationally recognised.
“For example, we cannot sell our durian paste direct from Kuching because none of our facilities are recognised by the Chinese market because we need to meet certain standards.
“Therefore, we should ensure full integrity of the supply and value chain with special emphasis on marketing,” he said.