State government renting land to genuine farmers to stop people from acquiring land purportedly for farming only to sell them off later
KUCHING: The state government has amended its land policy on agriculture by renting land to those who want to venture into farming instead of alienating land to those who apply for it for agricultural enterprise.
To implement the new policy the state government is setting up an Agro Park in Sarikei to be completed next year. The 600-acre park will be divided into 20-acre blocks to be rented out to agricultural entrepreneurs as their platforms to product corps through modern farming methods such as fertigation (artificial intelligence sensors).
This was disclosed by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg in his speech during the Sarawak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) 66th Annual Dinner and the launching of Wisma SCCI Akademi Melayu Sarawak held at Hilton Hotel last Friday.
Abang Johari said the reason why the land will be rented out is because some people had previously applied for land purportedly for agricultural venture but never farmed it.
“They only wait for the price of the land to increase and then sold it off and by amending the land policy, both Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera entrepreneurs can make use of the land.
“That is the only way forward. We have changed the policy and have established our first Agro Park in Sarikei, and we are going to identify places in Serian and Samarahan as they are situated near to the urban centre and ports.”
Technological innovation is inevitable in the state’s agriculture industry for it to produce crops to meet the global demand he added.
He said the use of digital technology in agriculture it is no longer a niche for a small group of farmers.
“We can maximise our agricultural sector production through the combination of technology and also creativity.”
He noted that Sarawak has the resources and with the digital infrastructure being set up the people are able to explore the potential to produce crops for the global market.
“Once the state’s big data rolls out it is up to the people to analyse the data that they have, conduct research and create something which is needed by the world market and no longer focus only on the domestic market.”
On the production of hydrogen, Abang Johari said the state is keen to produce hydrogen fuel from water which is a safe energy and hopefully use it to power our Light Rail Transit (LRT) and vehicles, as the state has abundance of water resources.
“Water will become precious as valuable as oil, which is why a lot of people speculate in 10 years time; maybe the price of oil will be USD 10 per barrel, because of alternative energy including hydrogen.
“If the world demand is there for hydrogen, then we will become a new Arabs.”
During the dinner the State Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2017 were presented to Dr Gregory Hii Sui Cheng, Datuk Nelson Balang Rining, Francis Yong Piaw Soon and Datuk Chew Chiaw Han.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohd Morshidi Abdul Ghani, SCCI president Datuk Abang Abdul Karim Tun Openg, Immediate past SCCI president Datuk Amin Satem, Assistant Minister of Entrepreneur and Small, Medium Enterprise (SME) Development Datuk Mohad Naroden Majais were also present.