KUCHING: The state government plans to transform the agriculture sector and turn Sarawak into a food basket for Malaysia and the region.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said Sarawak had a large potential for agriculture because of its abundant land.
“According to the State Planning Unit, we have about two million hectares of land still available. Among the states in Malaysia, we are the last frontier for agriculture development because our land is still plenty.
“We have reached a certain level of agriculture development but we have to transform. Now we want to modernise, commercialise and make use of technology. We want to be the food basket not only for Malaysia but other countries in the world,” he said.
He also said this would help eradicate poverty, improve the livelihood of the rural people and reduce the income disparity between urban and rural areas.
In line with this, the state government is organising the International Conference on Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Sarawak (ICAAS 2017) next month with the theme “Transforming Agriculture Through Commercialisation”.
“What is important is do we have the model, the technology and the right approaches. That is what we are looking forward to during this coming conference.
“We hope to learn from the success of other countries and other states in Malaysia which we hope to be able to adopt,” Uggah said.
ICAAS 2017 will be held at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching from Aug 21 to 22, featuring 20 local and international speakers and 1,500 delegates.
The conference aims to share knowledge and best practices in the agriculture and agro-based industry, explore effective agriculture delivery systems and identify opportunities in using digital technology for the development of sustainable and competitive agriculture.
It will highlight current issues, challenges, trends and opportunities in the agriculture and agro-based industry for Sarawak.
Uggah said agriculture was a key sector of Sarawak’s economy, contributing about 14% to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) last year.
He said there was a need to identify effective policies, development strategies and innovative business models to boost the sector’s growth.
“This international conference is a timely and fitting platform for knowledge sharing on new approaches and mechanisms that have proven to be successful in other parts of Malaysia and other countries, which can be adopted in the state,” he added.
For more information, go to www.icaas2017.com.my