PUNCAK BORNEO: The Sarawak government has approved RM5 million for the Sarawak Forest Department (SFD) to set up a model orchid garden equipped with digital facilities.
Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg the department would carry out research and calculate the economic viability of forming the orchid garden in view of the unique Borneo orchid species which would be marketed.
“Orchids are very expensive. When we look at the Netherlands and China they have exported orchids as there is a demand.
“Therefore, I am giving the department a RM5 million allocation as seed capital to have a model orchid garden.
“This will enable the private sector to learn from you on how to produce orchid and other flowers,” he said when officiating at the state-level International Day of Forests 2022 celebration held at Industrial Forest Research Centre (IFRC) here today (June 28).
He hoped that the department could come up with findings from the research, and orchids from Sarawak could be sold within two years.
“We have to invest in research and development (R&D). We have the biodiversity resources that can become a basis for us to develop our pharmaceutical industry.
“For all you know, we can produce medicines to treat COVID-19,” he said, adding that Sarawak had set up the Sarawak Infectious Disease Centre to prepare for scientific research to combat new diseases.
Abang Johari later told reporters the model orchid garden would be set up in Semenggok once a suitable location has been identified, adding it would also become a research platform for the department and Sarawak Biodiversity Centre.
“There are many orchid species in Borneo which can be interbred and then we can have hybrid orchids.
“Once you ‘marry’ two different species, we can produce beautiful and attractive orchids. However, this must be done through research first,” he said.
He added the orchid garden would include digital devices so that researchers could analyse the orchids to produce orchids in large volumes,” said Abang Johari.