Abang Johari wants Unimas to set up agro labs in rural Sarawak
KOTA SAMARAHAN, June 27 (Bernama) -- Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) has been tasked to set up laboratories in the rural places in the State to introduce modern and commercial agriculture to the people there.
Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said exposing the rural farming community to modern technology could lure the community’s younger generation to view agriculture as a business venture and not as a low-class vocation.
He said Unimas, along with other local institutions and government agencies, had the input to provide the new technology to help this community but the greater task would be to change the perception, especially among the young about farming.
“It is just a matter of convincing the farmers, convincing their youngs to take agriculture as a business entity,” he told reporters after gracing Unimas Commemorative Convocation here today.
He said the Sarawak government is gearing towards turning the state into a nett exporter of food products by 2030 and had established agro parks in several places as a strategy to achieve this objective.
Abang Johari said this target would require the State government to plan more basic and digital infrastructures to encourage more downstream agriculture industries to be established.
He said Sarawak could also ride on its vast size of lands to attract overseas investors facing space scarcity to carry out agriculture ventures to come over to the state.
“Private sector from overseas can come and they can become anchor (companies). They can buy from ordinary farmers and they can export it. What is important is the quality of the food which must be of international standards,” he said.
In addition, he said Sarawak is also blessed with natural resources that could be processed and turned into fertilizers or feedstocks, which could then reduce the imports of such materials to meet the needs of its agriculture sector.
“As our population is relatively small, so it is our objective to produce food for export,” he added.