MARDI’s R&D on coal-based fertiliser can help lift farmers' burden - Rundi

24/06/2022 04:10 PM

KUCHING, June 24 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Agriculture Research and Development Institute (MARDI) is currently developing a new fertiliser using charcoal found in abundance in Mukah, about 565km north of here.

Sarawak Agriculture Modernisation and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said the liquid fertiliser formulation technology and soil conditioner could give a big impact in lifting the burden of the farming community in the state due to the rising costs of imported fertilisers.

“For the last few months, we have been trying to see what we can do because of the (rising) price of fertilisers. With the new innovation, I have high hopes that it will complement the shortcomings that we have today,” he told reporters after officiating the AgroInvest Sarawak 2022 programme organised by MARDI, here today.

According to him, further development including the setting up of a fertiliser plant in Mukah could be seen in two years’ time, adding that he would seek the Sarawak State Farmers’ Association’s involvement in the matter.

“It will take some time (for the research and development (R&D) to be completed) but right now we have to make do with what we have but at the same time, trying to see and explore further,” he said.

Rundi said it was also high time for performance based incentives to be given to the agriculture community instead of continuing on with provision of subsidies that had long been found to be less effective in helping them to improve their livelihood.

“Actually those in needs, especially farmers, cannot depends on input incentives or subsidies. We must also move into output incentives based on performance. The more you produce, the higher asistance that you will get,” he said.

He said output incentives would motivate people to produce more and eventually moving towards producing premium products that would have higher values.

Rundi said the Sarawak government is steering the agriculture community into a new transformation plan where they could contribute more significantly to the the state Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2030.

“We have to transform the agro-community from subsistence farming into agropreneurs all the way into agro-industrialists,” he added.