KUCHING: Sarawak will kick-start its high yielding rubber plantation project this year following the approval of a RM53 million allocation from the federal government.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang said yesterday that this initiative formed part of the government’s efforts to eradicate poverty in the rural areas.
The fund is meant to cover plantations totalling about 10,000 hectares (ha).
This project forms part of a nine-year programme in which the total targetted acreage is 200,000 ha statewide.
Jabu said the Rubber Industry Smallholders’ Development Authority (RISDA) would oversee the replanting work while the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) would organise new planting projects for smallholders.
“We received many applications but our strategy is that if we plant in one area, we want to ensure that we have the potential to attract one processing plant. At the moment, there is a processing plant in Debak (Betong) but it needed to be revamped for increased capacity.
“At the same time, there is also a plan to build plants in Ulu Baram and Hulu Rajang in the Kapit-Katibas area,” he told reporters after opening the ‘State Agriculture Department Research Officers’ Progress Meeting’ at Four Points by Sheraton Hotel here.
Touching on plans to focus the project initially in the rural Baram areas, Jabu, who is also Rural Development Minister and Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, stressed that the main challenge was to overcome the harder areas.
He pointed out that the main focus was to cater to the rural population, especially the poor.
“Half of the state’s 2.42 million population live in the rural areas. If we can cater for half of them (1.21 million) through this project within the next 10 years, while the other half is covered under various other government programmes, I am confident that the rural areas will be fully covered,” he said.
He revealed that his ministry was also looking into the possibility of planting temperate vegetables and fruits at the upper riches of Ulu Baram, as part of the programme to raise the economic strength of the rural community and to combat the possibility of food shortage in the state.
Jabu said the interiors of Baram, where the altitude exceed 3,000 feet, are suitable for the production of vegetables such as cabbages and cauliflowers.
He also suggested throwing cattle rearing into the mix for meat and milk production.
“All this would fall in line with developing Baram systematically with Marudi, Long Lama, Upper Baram, Bario and Ulu Tutoh Apoh, where the nucleus of the said areas will become the satellite-feeding areas for Miri and Bintulu.
“In the concept of rural development, this is a necessity. We will also place our agriculture staff to help the rural community with agricultural activities,” he said.
Also present at the press conference were Assistant Agriculture Ministers Datuk Mong Dagang (Research and Marketing) and Datuk Sylvester Entri Muran (Farmer’s Organisation), state Agriculture Department director Lai Kui Fong and MOA permanent secretary Datu Dr Ngenang Janggu.
Incoming search terms:
You can find more and more rubber news at:
Rubber Markets News, Rubber Prices Reports, Rubber Market Analytics & Outlook Reports