KUCHING: Sarawak will collaborate with the Netherlands to transform its agriculture sector through the use of technology, says Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, today.
The Premier said Sarawak was keen to learn from the Netherlands that has the reputation of being the world's second largest exporter of food after the US despite of its small land size and population.
The Premier said these when taking to reporters in a press conference after opening The First Sarawak-Dutch Food Security Workshop, here.
He pointed out that land in the Netherlands was always put to good and productive use to make it Europe’s largest producer of food.
"Sarawak need to learn how the agriculture sector has developed in the Netherlands where lands is not wasted,” he said.
With ample land Sarawak can be an net exporter of food in the Asian region with access to half of the world's population that was within a six-hour flight time, he pointed out.
Sarawak should reach out to these big markets where there might scarcity of food and become a regional supplier of quality food, he said.
To achieve this, Abang Johari said Sarawak needed to employ smart farming and train its human resources in technology.
"I hope the workshop will be a platform for sharing the Dutch success with us and encourage the use of technology to produce quality food," he said.
In his speech earlier, Abang Johari said Sarawak's agriculture sector was still lacking in the command of technology, soil management and nurseries to produce seeds.
He said many farmers still used traditional methods and it was not easy to change their mindset to adopt technology.
"If we can tackle these challenges, I believe we can transform the whole sector and contribute to food security in the region," he said.
The Premier later witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) by the Sarawak Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Ministry with Sarawak Metropolitan Food Cluster Consortium, a Sarawak-Dutch group, to develop metropolitan food clusters in the state.
The metropolitan food cluster concept used by the Dutch addresses food production chain and sustainability issues by transforming rural landscapes close to urban areas into food production areas and optimising logistics to link them to domestic and external markets.
"This partnership comes at a timely juncture where Sarawak, through joining forces with the Netherlands, embarks on a journey to revolutionise its agriculture industry while answering the United Nations' sustainable development goals via the metropolitan food cluster concept," said Netherlands ambassador to Malaysia Jacques Werner.
He said the concept involved the integration of horticulture and greenhouses, livestock, animal feed, aquaculture, processing centres and collection centres, with a focus on innovation and digital transformation.
Werner also said the Dutch were keen to share their knowledge to ensure that sustainable food production was a global effort.
"With Sarawak's Dutch connection, I hope this can inspire potential trade and exchange of knowledge among us and serve as a blueprint for growth and prosperity for all," he added.
The Minister of Food Industries, Commodity and Regional Development, Dato Sri Dr. Stephen Rundi Anak Utom also spoke.
Sumber dari : Sarawakku