KUCHING: Sarawak will be carrying out more research and development (R&D) on paddy as part of its effort to improve food security in the state.
Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus (Swinburne Sarawak) will set up a satellite campus to do research on paddy cultivation.
“If you look at Japan, they have three seasons of rice production. Perhaps, Sarawak can have two seasons a year based on the technology and other inputs,” he said when officiating at the launch of the Kenyalang Biris Rice and Carus Creamy White Pepper, Sarawak Agrofest 2022 and Nyamai Sarawak Gastronomy Festival 2022 at Lalaport Bukit Bintang City Centre, Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Abang Johari, who is Gedong assemblyman, said the Swinburne Sarawak satellite campus will be set up in Gedong.
“Swinburne Sarawak will be working together with their main campus in Melbourne and we will employ new technology in terms of food production,” he said.
Abang Johari added that Sarawak has its famous Bario rice which is produced from the highlands and the Highland Development Agency (HDA) is the dedicated agency to develop rice production in the state’s highland areas.
“As we talk about rice production, we must also look into other agriculture productions including flowers.
“Netherlands, for instance, is the main exporter of flowers, hence I think this is another sector – horticulture – that we can be involved in,” he stressed.
Sarawak, he said, has a lot of potential in the agriculture sector including rice, vegetables as well as poultry and fish.
“We are also exporting our prawns to overseas markets. In other words, the whole spectrum of agriculture activities, with the resources and land that we have, can be developed.
“With that, I’m sure by the year 2030, Sarawak is able to become a net food exporter,” he said, adding that the national policy must focus on providing food security.
He said if the world economy were to be affected, Sarawak must be ready by then and able to meet the needs of its people so that they are not affected by market forces.
“In this case, if something happens, we are the producer rather than the buyer,” said Abang Johari.
Later in a press conference, he said that paddy waste must be researched further as its waste can be turned into fertiliser.
“It is important that we must not forget the other by-product from paddy. So our mindset has to be changed, and that is what we are doing in Sarawak,” said Abang Johari.
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