RM60 million for farmers

Uggah (second right, front row) with the farmers and longhouse chiefs.

KUCHING: The state government has allocated about RM60 million to address the concerns voiced out by pepper and oil palm farmers as a result of the limitations and constraints brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fund, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, will be used to provide fertiliser for their (farmers) crops.

“The government is well-aware of the challenges that the farmers endure, and this is part of our objectives to assist farmers in yielding a good earning from their activities.

“Thus, the fund is being established to support and put the farmers back on firm ground,” he said at a meeting with 40 longhouse chiefs and farmers from the Bukit Saban constituency yesterday (Oct 10).

Uggah, who is also the Minister of Agriculture Modernisation, Native Land and Regional Development, said the Covid-19 situation has forced the government to put numerous agricultural activities on hold.

“I apologise for any inconvenience this has caused, but it was inevitable for everyone’s sake.

“From now on, we will gradually catch up with the farmers as we want them to be able to generate a profit from their activities,” he said.

At the same time, he noted that Betong, with its large land area, fertile soil and hardworking farmers, still has a lot of untapped potentials.

“We have approved, among other things, the establishment of a collecting, processing, and packaging centre (CPPC) here in Betong.

“In design, it will be similar to the Tarat CPPC in Serian, with an emphasis on durian.

“The government has also planned to set up an agro park here, and there’s the Bebuling short landing and take-off airport in Spaoh to help with foreign marketing, in addition to a food terminal that will be part of the airport’s set-up,” he said.

In a similar development, Uggah reassured efforts would be intensified to offer modern farming technologies such as fertigation and hydroponic to the people, besides livestock rearing.

He mentioned that the farmers organisation in the area will also be tasked with buying any produce by the farmers.

“It is my hope that the local farming fraternity here will rise to the occasion.”

Also present to accompany Uggah at the function were the political secretary to the Chief Minister, Dr Richard Rapu, and Betong divisional agriculture officer Petrus Kang.

Uggah (standing) delivers his speech to the local farmers in the area.