By Chew Lip Song
THE state government plans to increase the monthly average household income in the state from RM2,131 to RM4,000 through various measures, including modernising the agricultural sector.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development and the Agriculture Department are helping farmers through grants, planting material and modern technology.
“I believe this is achievable since we have the land mass and our farmers and breeders are hard working people,” said Uggah in a New Sarawak Tribune report.
Uggah, who is the also Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Minister, further said that it would create more agriculture parks where lots could be rented out to interested but landless farmers.
It would create two more collecting, processing and packaging centres (CPPC) to help in the buying, processing and marketing of agricultural products.
“We have now built 10 new agriculture stations statewide. They will be the place for farmers to seek guidance, assistance and new technologies.
“We will also have green house units in them to demonstrate modern methods like fertigation and hydroponics,” he said.
He said this when officiating at the Spaoh Agriculture Station costing RM4.5 million in Spaoh here yesterday.
Among those present were Saribas assemblyman Mohd Razi Sitam, Dr Richard Rapu — a political secretary to the Chief Minister, ministry permanent secretary Edwin Abit, and Agriculture Department director Dr Alvin Chai.
Uggah added the respective Farmers’ Organisation branches statewide would also help to buy the farmers’ produce as well.
“My ministry, for instance, had allocated the state Farmers’ Organisation a sum of RM1.5 million to buy fruits and vegetables from farmers during the movement control order (MCO). This was a great help to them during the period,” he said.
He also mentioned that the government too had set aside a sum of RM265 million under the Agriculture Facilitation Fund (AFF) as additional assistance to farmers and breeders.
“Through this fund, we are helping farmers and breeders with fertilisers, planting materials, facilities and technologies. We also use the fund to reach out to fishermen on their needs,” he said.
Uggah said so far only RM68 million had been spent to date.
He said for those more established farmers and breeders, the government created the Venture Capital with a revolving fund of RM200 million.