KUCHING: Sarawak carried out its first export of inland fish (tilapia) to Singapore yesterday. The 12 tonnes of tilapia fish from Batang Ai marks its first commercial export to the island city-state.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the exporter, Sea Horse Corporation Sdn Bhd, had brought the fish samples to Singapore during the launching of Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office Singapore (Statos), by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on Aug 16.
“Today is a historic day for the agriculture sector in Sarawak, especially inland fisheries. Today we witness the first shipment of fish from Batang Ai to Singapore.
“This is the product of Borneo Ecofish Sdn Bhd, produced in Batang Ai. We are indeed making a giant step forward into exporting our product,” Uggah said when launching the export of tilapia fish to Singapore at Sea Horse Corporation Sdn Bhd in Pending Industrial Estate yesterday.
The Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Minister noted that Sea Horse has been
exporting prawn and seafood products (jellyfish) overseas.
“Today the fish from Batang Ai is making its way to Singapore. This is a by-product of the establishment of Statos.”
Uggah noted that the collaboration was forged between the top management of Borneo Ecofish and Sheng Siong Group when they met in Singapore during the Statos launch and several negotiations between the two companies had led to the export of tilapia fish to Singapore.
“This is a positive indicator that we are changing the agricultural industry in Sarawak,” he added.
Borneo Ecofish is the largest red tilapia cage culture farm in Batang Ai Dam, Lubok Antu — with 3,000 cages and expanding, for long-term sustainability of the business.
The home-grown tilapia fish rearing and processing company’s current production capacity is 50 metric tonnes per month and the company hopes to increase its capacity to 100 metric tonnes monthly with 2,000 new cages installed by the end of next year.
Borneo Ecofish managing director Thomas Hii said having the Malaysian Good Agriculture Practices (myGAP) and halal certificates, he was confident their products would be well received by local and foreign customers.
Hii also said Sea Horse Corporation is certified and equipped with the facilities for export purposes. The fish from Batang Ai will be processed before exported to Singapore.
Sea Horse Corporation Sdn Bhd director Lee Choon Kheng said the company has exported 200 metric tonnes of prawns to Singapore up to September, this year.
He added that 49 percent of the total export went to Australia, followed by China at 11 percent, Japan (10 percent), United Arab Emirates (six percent), Qatar (2 percent) and others. The company also recorded a total export of shrimps valued at RM52 million last year.
Also present during the ceremony were Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Assistant Ministers Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn and Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail.