Dr Rundi: State works closely with federal govt, even funds Putrajaya projects
Posted on : 30 Jul 2022  Source of News: Borneo Post

KUCHING (July 30): Sarawak is committed to working closely with the Federal government in ensuring sufficient production and supply of food at affordable price, said Modernisation of Agriculture and Regional Development Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom.

Refuting Federal Agriculture and Food Industries Deputy Minister Dr Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh’s claim that Sarawak was doing little to improve the country’s food security, Dr Rundi asserted that the state embraced the National Food Security Policy.

“The Sarawak Government is committed to implement various initiatives to strengthen national food supply and has allocated large sums of money from its own coffers towards this end,” he said in a statement.

Dr Nik Muhammad had told parliament on Tuesday that Sarawak and Sabah were the least cooperative states when it comes to improving food security.

“Two states that we are most disappointed with, states that have agriculture but are not registered with government agencies are Sabah and Sarawak,” he reportedly said.

Dr Rundi pointed out that Sarawak had agreed to establish the State and District-level Food Security Committee to ensure the smooth implementation of the National Food Security Action Plan Policy (2021 to 2024).

He added that the state had undertaken the key initiatives that include increasing areas for food production by zoning and gazettement of more paddy production areas, Permanent Food Production Parks and Aquaculture Industrial Zone (AIZ).

“Contrary to the claims, Sarawak has been working closely with the Federal Government and its agencies to develop the agriculture sector, particularly the food industry,” he said, giving a long list of federal agencies concerned.

Among them are the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority, Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute, Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board, Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority, Department of Fisheries Malaysia and Integrated Agriculture Development Areas

On the claim that Sarawak did not allow Lembaga Pertubuhan Peladang (LPP) to be established in Sarawak, Dr Rundi said the role of LPP in Sarawak was empowered to the Permanent Secretary of his ministry as the registrar Area Farmers’ Organisation (PPK) and the State Farmers’ Organisation (PPNS).

“On the allegation that we have the least number of registered members, currently, a total of 177,124 farmers are registered with 28 PPKs throughout Sarawak, while PPNS is affiliated to Pertubuhan Peladang Kebangsaan (NAFAS). The farmers’ information is also shared with LPP.

“To say Sarawak has the fewest registered farmers with federal agencies is untrue as LPP has only introduced a new system to register the farmers online which is known as Peladang Klik in 2020 and not all PPK members have been registered under the new system,” he said.

He pointed out that farmers in Sarawak were also registered with the agencies he had earlier named but the development funds from the Federal Government to these agencies had been very limited and insufficient to develop a huge region like Sarawak.

“To make up for the shortfall, the Sarawak Government has in fact provided additional funds to these agencies.

“In fact, as an equal partner in the Federation of Malaysia, we believe Sarawak should be given an equitable amount of development fund with that of Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah,” he said.

Dr Rundi added that Sarawak was aggressively transforming the agriculture sector by undertaking key initiatives to boost food production through research and development, adoption of digital technology and leveraging on global partnership in both upstream and downstream activities.

“Currently, the ministry is conducting several trade and promotional missions to advanced countries such as The Netherlands and Singapore and seeking collaborations with internationally-renowned groups to fast-track our agriculture sector development.

“Nevertheless, the Sarawak Government will continue to work closely with the Federal Government to enhance food security and pursue the various agriculture development programmes and projects,” he said.

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