BY AMYRA VARKISA & ALEXANDRA LORNA
KUCHING: A total of RM7 million has been allocated under the 12th Malaysia Plan for the upgrading of 15 markets throughout Sarawak.
Agriculture and Food Industries, Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee, disclosed this after visiting Medan Niaga Satok (MNS) here today.
He said the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) and Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) would continue efforts to contribute and improve business structures throughout the country including Sarawak.
“FAMA will continue to play its role as a marketing agency that not only helps traders and entrepreneurs but also creates a comfortable business environment for all parties,” he added.
Kiandee at the same time also welcomed cooperation from the Sarawak government in contributing funds to improve the existing business infrastructure in the state.
He said the basic cost of the Medan Niaga Satok (MNS) project which was built on a 12.25 acres in Jalan Matang, Petra Jaya, is RM46.6 million.
“MNS has received an allocation of RM7 million from the Sarawak State government for development and upgrading works such as the construction of multi-storey car parks, upgrades in blocks B, C and D,” he said.
He explained that the project will provide a market with a modern, clean, orderly and complete concept with the latest waste management system.
“MNS was built to replace the Satok Market which was becoming obsolete and no longer suitable due to drainage problems, dirty environment and traffic congestion,” he said.
Apart from that, he shared that FAMA has developed many retail outlets aimed at strengthening the supply chain as well as increasing market opportunities (outlets) for direct sales of agricultural commodities and agricultural products to consumers, especially in urban and suburban areas.
“Through these outlets, the distribution chain can be shortened as well as the risk of market manipulation by middlemen reduced,” he said.
He added that there are 1,037 of these outlets throughout Malaysia.
Meanwhile, FAMA also developed marketing infrastructures such as the Rural Transformation Center (RTC) Program, MyFarm Outlet, Farmers ‘Market, and Permanent Farmers’ Market.
“In addition, various marketing and sales programmes and activities are held here such as the MyRakyat programme and Direct Sales from Farms as an initiative to help reduce the cost of living of the people.
“Close collaboration with the State Government will continue to ensure that MNS plays an important role in agro-food marketing in Sarawak,” he said.
Also present were Sarawak Deputy Minister of Agriculture Modernisation and Regional Development (MANRED), Martin Ben, MAFI deputy secretary-general, Datuk Badrul Hisham Mohd, FAMA director-general, Datuk Zainal Abidin Yang Razalli and Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) Sarawak director, Datuk Stanley Tan.