Uggah (centre) with Charlie (left) and a worker at the Debak Agriculture Centre.

KUCHING: Having sufficient and consistent supply of quality seeds is a very important component in the state’s agricultural development programme.

Having the right seeds is a lynchpin in the industry’s growth. With these in mind, the state has embarked on a programme to focus on hybrid seeds production at the Debak agricultural centre in Betong.

“The state Agriculture Department recently inked a MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Green World Genetics (GWG) Sdn Bhd in September to develop the site for the purpose.

“GWG is a research-based organisation from Kuala Lumpur specialising in the breeding of high-quality tropical hybrid seeds and improvement of agricultural products.

“With the memorandum, the company is licensed to create a quality seed production centre, crop breeding and processing plant, providing training as well as to do a Research and Development Centre there,” said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas on Monday (Oct 19) when he visited the 27.59-hectare site.

Uggah who is the Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development said in the context of modern farming, farmers could not simply plant any seed.

Ideally, he said the seeds must meet the soil condition, be disease resistant and be able to increase productivity.

According to the latest statistics from the World Seed Organisation, he said Malaysia was importing 2,665 tonnes of field crop seeds worth $10million and 669 tonnes of vegetable seeds worth $6 million.

“In Sarawak, we have yet to have any seed production facility…. an area focussing on quality seeds production.

“That is why we are giving the GWG the chance to produce seeds.

“The company will begin with corn, then padi seeds plus other vegetables and crops,” he noted.

Uggah added it would also adopt farmers to produce the seeds using its technology.

“When the farmers produce, it is not for immediate consumption, but to produce seeds to be sold to others who want to plant the crop.”

He said the company was expected to begin operating after the current site preparation works had been completed.

Betong District Council secretary Charlie Keling accompanied Uggah on the visit.