LUBOK ANTU: The silver ‘patin’ from Batang Ai hydro dam lake is the latest gourmet treat coming to Kuala Lumpur from Sarawak.
The catfish species is sold up to RM130 per kilogramme there.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said this indicated that the state had a lot of potential for outside markets.
“We are now already selling our Batang Ai tilapia fish to the rather discerning Singapore market.
“Our Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is himself a strong promoter of our tilapia.
“We still have the potential to do more fish cage culture projects in Bakun and Murum dam lakes which we have not really done,” he said when launching the state Agriculture Department AgriCOP or Agriculture Community Outreach Programme at the Lubok Antu Sports Stadium here on Tuesday (Sept 15).
Meanwhile, Uggah who is also the Minister of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, said the Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra) in Batang Ai would venture into producing fish fry to sustain the industry.
On the AgriCOP activity, he said it was to publicise the State Agriculture Department’s various programmes towards empowering the people to become modern farmers, breeders and fishermen.
“Our chief minister wants the sector which has been allocated a development budget of RM797million this year, to be transformed into a modern one using high technologies to allow better productivity and income.
“It is the way forward for Sarawak to achieve its objective of becoming a net food and food products exporter by 2030.
“He also wants the farmers to diversify their activities instead of relying solely on oil palm or pepper which are often subjected to market forces,” he added.
During the programme, Uggah announced an allocation of RM500,000 for more agricultural programmes for Batang Ai.
On politics, Uggah who is a Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) deputy president, urged all party members here to give their full support to its three-term assemblyman Datuk Malcom Mussem from Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS).
He strongly denied allegations that a PBB member would challenge Mussem in the coming state election.
In his speech earlier, Mussem thanked all GPS component parties members here for their continuing strong support.
“Anyone who wants to be successful will need the support of all others.
“Batang Ai is still a GPS stronghold. It will remain a GPS stronghold in the coming election,” he assured.