I share this quote by our Premier YAB Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg during the opening of Pesta Benak 2022 last year.
“Sri Aman is identified as the country’s paddy production area. This means we will develop the infrastructure which requires a lot of financial spending. I have negotiated with the federal government to develop the area together with funds from the state government, meaning there will be joint development between the federal government and the state government.”
— Premier Sarawak YAB Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg
The Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture and Regional Development (MANRED) have been renamed to Ministry of Food Industry, Commodity & Regional Development (MFICORD).
“In agriculture, we cannot do without community involvement. My plan is to make sure that we transform the subsistence farming or farming community into a more profitable initiative where they will go into ‘agropreneurship’ and move into the agro-industry. But this however, has to be done in stages and my ministry’s vision is to make sure we are able to transform our farming community in order for them to become a ‘high-income family’.”
— Minister of Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development (MFICORD) Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom
Soon, Simanggang shall host Pesta Benak 2023 will be held beginning 29th September 2023.
How far have Simanggang progress to become another Rice Bowl of Malaysia after our Premier’s visionary opening speech last year?
Our neighbouring country is boosting their rice production and exports amid thread to global supply as published in this news article in The Star. Our farmers need to emulate them to make Simanggang as the next Rice Bowl of Malaysia!
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) defines STOLports as “unique airports designed to serve airplanes that have exceptional short-field performance capabilities.”
The GPS Sarawak state government have allocated RM296 million for the construct of Bebuling Short Take-off and Landing Airport (STOLport) project which is located at Bebuling, Spaoh in Betong Division. Its runway is expected to be 1.2km long, which shall cater for Twin Otter and PIPO for transporting cargo and tourists.
This airport is part of the state government’s initiatives in making the state a net food producer by the year 2030. Strategically it is located at Bebuling Spaoh which is part of the greater Betong Food Basket area.
The location of this airport from Kuching International Airport makes air travelling time shorter compared to travelling via land transport, which normally take four hours from Kuching to Batang Ai.
According to Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, the state government had identified the Bebuling area comprising 250 hectares for the implementation of one of the six agro parks in the state which will be helmed by precision or smart farming.
The Bebuling Airport is to cater for the immediate transportation of those agricultural produces to the markets.
It is also the vision of Douglas Uggah to make this airport as the gateway for tourist to visit the various tourism destinations in Batang Ai, Bukit Sadok and surrounding district of Sri Aman, Lingga, Pantu, Lubok Antu, Betong, Saratok, Pusa and Kabong where they can enjoy the local food like the famous prawn noodle or barbecue telapia fish, experience the Gawai Dayak Festival in June, buy local handicraft like the pua kumbu, selampai (scarf), rattan mats and basket as souvenirs.
For tourist who love jungle trekking, mountain biking, the interior of Ulu Paku, Ulu Layar and Krian offers challenging tracks for their ultimate biking adventure, and at the same time enjoy the tropical flora and fauna.
The local grassroot leaders must continue to organise events like mountain bike challenge, river regattas, wild fishing competition in upper rivers and streams, Off Road Challenges and many more tourism-related activities.
With Sarawak taking over MASwings and making it a regional airline, the community in Betong Division and the surrounding divisions must ready their tourism products before our visitors arrive!
While Betong awaits the completion of this airport, it is essential that the community in Betong Division and other nearby districts, kampungs and longhouses must play their role by involving and participating in smart farming.
Whether its of large scale or in clusters, every farmer have a big role to play in order to contribute towards the state’s goal of becoming regional tourist destination, a net food exporter and high net income society by 2030.
“We have to change the perception of agriculture as a difficult job to one that involves the use of technology in order to attract the young,” — Premier Sarawak, Abang Johari Tun Openg
In order to achieve this goal, Universiti Sarawak (UNIMAS) was asked to set up a lab in a rural area to train our young farmers to use new agriculture methods such as the Internet of Things (IoT).
Waste no more time folks; jump on the bandwagon, start developing our idle land for agriculture as well as organising all the interesting tourism events, for time waits for no man!
Lastly, I wish to express my sincere thanks to Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, staff at Pusat Khidmat Masyarakat N.37 Bukit Saban, JKR Sarawak for their cooperation in allowing us to fly the drone and film this video.