KUCHING: The Sarawak government is promoting high technology practices such as ‘Smart and precision farming’ to help the farming community generate high income and to attract youngsters throughout the state to be interested in the agriculture sector.
According to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, the use of drones and the Internet of Things (IoT) is among the most technologically advanced methods practised in modern agriculture to increase production, especially of specialty crops.
He also said the use of modern technology should be aggressively promoted to ensure sufficient and safe food production in line with the era of digital economy.
The use of modern technology in the agriculture sector has the ability to attract youth involvement in the field which has seen their participation declining over the last few years, he added.
According to him, only 14 per cent of the 12.5 million youths in the country are involved in the agriculture sector and the lack of youth participation will have an impact on food availability and safety in the future.
There are many factors contributing to why there is lack of participation among the youths in the agriculture sector and one of them is that agriculture is considered a dirty, hazardous and difficult 3D job, just for the poor and underprivileged. This perception needs to be corrected as agriculture is now a business and more competitive and capable of producing high income farmers, he elaborated when officiating at the 13th Convocation Ceremony of the Sarawak Agricultural Institute (IPS) in Semonggok near here yesterday.
Uggah, who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg aspired for Sarawak to be a net exporter of food by 2030.
He said this could be achieved if the yields and competitiveness of the agricultural sector are improved, adding that presently Malaysia imports agricultural products worth over RM20 billion annually.
He also said the challenge should be an opportunity to intensify the production of agricultural products and his ministry also encouraged the use of fertigation system in the production of vegetables and fruits.
Also present were Department of Agriculture acting director Dr Alvin Chai Lian Kuet and Department of Human Resources Development director Sulaiman Hashim.
Source: SARAWAK GOVERNMENT