BY NIA NATASHA HASENAN
KUCHING: The State Farmers’ Organisation (SFO) received a total allocation of RM85 million to further develop the agricultural sector in Sarawak and thus, achieving the vision to become a net food exporter state by 2030.
Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Assistant Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail said from the total, RM50 million was agreed in principle by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg in August this year.
“The allocation is for a period of five years, meaning a fragment of RM10 million will be utilised for each year,” he said.
Meanwhile, he noted that another RM35 million was from the Farmers Institution (FI) under the 13th Malaysia Plan to plan activities for the Sarawak Farmers Organisation Five-Year Plan (2021-2025).
“This fund is specifically for marketing as we want to be an exporter through our existing office in Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office Singapore (Statos) and similar offices which will be established in Brunei and Pontianak,” he added.
He said this when speaking at the SFO’s 35th annual general meeting (MAT) held at Imperial Hotel here today.
According to Abdul Rahman, the SFO’s focus was on marketing because that was the most difficult problem faced by the farmers.
“Production is not a problem, but if we were to produce a lot of products and only rely on the local market, we cannot increase our income.
“Therefore, the chief minister has given the responsibility to SFO to help with the marketing aspect whereby a workshop is to be conducted to deliberate on the five-year plan,” he explained.
The workshop will be held early December involving the Ministry, SFO, 28 Area Farmers’ Organisations (AFOs) and related agencies.
The workshop will focus on marketing sector and how to ensure that the products can meet the international standards in order to penetrate foreign markets.
He also emphasised that the state’s goal in the agriculture sector is for Sarawak to become a net food exporter and to increase each household’s income to RM6,000 per month by the year 2030.
The event was officiated by Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Assistant Minister Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn representing Deputy Chief Minister cum Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development (Manred) Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.
Also present were political secretary to the chief minister Kenil Jara’ie; Lambir assemblyman Ripin Lamat; Manred’s chief assistant secretary David Branch Ambor, Sarawak Department of Agriculture (DOA) Farmers Institution Division chief Mohidi Bidin, and SFO general manager Gom Raway.