The Department of Agriculture (DOA) Sarawak has been allocated a total of RM22 million under the 12th Malaysia Plan to expand the production of durian, pineapple, coconut, banana, and high-value vegetables.
Minister for Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said to date, 250 hectares of durian, 330 hectares of banana, 40 hectares of pineapples and 750 hectares of coconut have been established.
“To further increase the production areas for these crops, my ministry is actively pursuing the development of agropark and it will be equipped with basic infrastructure and utilities for use by an anchor company, group of farmers and agro- entrepreneurs that integrate all facets of the value chain.
“An agency under my ministry will be appointed as Special Purpose Vehicles based on the framework of a tripartite partnership involving the government, the farmers and the investor who will also act as the marketing entity,” he said.
To date, Rundi said three agropark projects namely Sungai Baji and Parit Bugis in Sarikei Division and Asajaya in Samarahan Division are under various stages of implementation.
“In 2023, an allocation of RM14.8 million will be provided to complete the farming facilities at Sungai Baji Agropark and for the preliminary works at Parit Bugis and Asajaya Agropark,” he said.
He added his ministry has also been allocated a sum of RM3.3 million in 2023 to develop three new areas namely, Bebuling and Lubok Tamang in Betong Division and Simanggang in Sri Aman Division.
“Besides that, my ministry has also identified four potential areas namely, Lubok Ipoi, Lubok Trenggas and Gedong-Semalatong in Samarahan Division and at Mulu, Miri Division.
In addition, he said, to increase the agro-food production area, a sum of RM30 million has also been approved for the Development of Drainage and Irrigation Infrastructure at Sungai Ilas/Sebena (Block A3) in Sarikei Division, with an initial allocation of RM800,000 to be disbursed in 2023.
“My ministry is committed to advance the development of the agriculture sector to generate export revenue in line with the Sarawak government’s aspiration to establish Sarawak as a net food exporter by 2030.
“In this regard, my ministry has identified key agriculture sub-sectors that have the potential to become the export earner sectors, and among the initiatives is to actively expand the designated food production zones,” he said.
Under the 12MP, he said his ministry has proposed to develop three new Permanent Food Production Zone (TKPM) with an allocation of RM5.0 million, in addition to seven TKPM that were developed under the 11MP.
“The three new locations are the expansion of Kubong Phase 2 in Limbang, Sg Sebiew in Bintulu, and Tunoh in Kapit. The estimated area of the three sites is 50 hectares which will involve more than 20 farmers,” he said.
On a related development, he said the ministry has identified three sites to be developed as Precision Farming Park involving three divisions in Sarawak namely Kuching, Bintulu and Miri.
“For this purpose, the government has allocated a total sum of RM90 million and the project is expected to commence in 2023 with an allocation of RM21 million.
“This programme is also expected to attract greater youth and private sector involvement,” he said.
Apart from that, he said two Sarawak Arotechnology Park (SARTECH) will be established under 12MP and to be located in Semenggok, Kuching and Tarat, Serian Division.
“In this regard, the Sarawak government has approved an allocation of RM108 million of which RM5.0 million will be disbursed in 2023 for preliminary works.
“The development of SARTECH in these two areas is expected to attract global technology-based agricultural-related firms towards transforming Sarawak agriculture into a technology-driven and sustainable sector.
“To capitalise on the huge potential of local high-value food crops and fisheries, my Ministry plans to establish designated production areas focusing on developing the whole supply chain of the selected agricultural products.
“These areas include Dabai Belt and Empurau Belt covering Kanowit, Song and Kapit Districts as well as Tapah Belt in Kemena, Bintulu and Coffee belt in Bau and Padawan Districts,” said Dr Rundi.