KUCHING, 14 Sept — A sum of RM13.7 million from the RM28.6 million approved under the Sarawak Agro Fund had been disbursed as of Aug 31 this year, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said today.
He said the fund, managed by the Sarawak Land Development Board (SLDB), was announced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to finance viable agro-based economic activities in the form of business start-up grants and expansion fund.
“The fund is being disbursed progressively according to the progress of projects,” he told reporters after witnessing the signing of a joint-venture agreement between Carus Greenwealth Sdn Bhd and Antares Ventures Sdn Bhd for the development of an heirloom paddy plantation, here, today.
Uggah, who is also the state Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, said 25 applications had been received for the fund, created to facilitate agriculture entrepreneurs getting financial assistance for their endeavours.
“It is also one of the initiatives of the state government to make Sarawak a nett food exporter by 2030,” he added.
Uggah said the fund was also to complement the subsidies received by the farmers while enabling them to modernise and increase their productivity.
He said the Sarawak government had also introduced a new concept to promote modern farming to attract the younger generation to venture into agriculture as a career that involved the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT), modern fertigation and greenhouse technology.
“The state government is also looking at creating an effective marketing system through the appointment of anchor companies to assist the farmers sell their products to bigger markets and increase their income,” he added.