Sarawak can help alleviate world food security issues, says minister
By:Ma Chee Seng
Date:
KCH-pc karim-1410-man1

KUCHING: Sarawak can produce more food for its citizens and other areas of the world, benefiting producers and farmers economically, says Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

The Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts said he hoped the necessary ministries and agencies, whether federal or state, would pursue this matter further so that the state could assist in alleviating world food security issues.

According to Abdul Karim, rice-producing countries such as Thailand and Vietnam, which utilise a lot of land for the purpose, are now being impacted upon by other types of development such as housing and so on.

He was speaking to the media after officiating at the Engage and Taste (E.A.T) Taste of Borneo Conference 2022 at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) today.

“We are gradually approaching a similar dilemma as the population of Sarawak grows and Malaysia develops.

“We must remember that the issue of food security affects not only Sarawak but the entire world. We are fortunate in Sarawak since we have a small population but a large land mass, thus we do not have many food concerns.

“It’s just that as people become more prosperous, there may be certain foods that we are unable to farm, so we import more of them, yet, when it comes to fundamental or staple foods like rice, I believe the state can produce and there should be no problem.”

When asked about efforts to bring Sarawak’s traditional food to the global market, Abdul Karim replied that it was up to the culinary sector to make it marketable.

“As we all know, Sarawak has numerous ethnic groups, and each ethnicity has its own specialty meal, such as roti canai for the Indians, umai for the Melanaus, and so on.

“That is why we are fortunate and grateful to have such a diverse population. It is up to people in the culinary profession to make these dishes marketable to the rest of the world.

“It is up to us to add value to these delicacies and make them international. The experts, such as the chefs, will know what to do because there are so many kinds of meals.”

He also emphasised the importance of improving Sarawak’s food security position before establishing a long-term goal of being a net food exporter and selling high quality and premium specialty food products to the international market.

Abdul Karim added that solving food security and waste management concerns was important for the business and tourism industries.

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