KUCHING, Wednesday: The Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture and Regional Development Sarawak (MANRED) is now known as the Ministry of Food Industry, Commodities and Regional Development to reflect the importance of the food industry to the Sarawak economy.
The change to the new name was announced by the Sarawak Premier, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri (Dr) Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari Tun Datuk Abang Openg during the opening of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Safety Congress (COSAFS) here on Wednesday.
Since agriculture as a food source is so important to Sarawak's efforts to become a food producing state and ensure food security, the Government has decided to change the name of this ministry, he explained.
Agriculture is an industry and the traditional image of agriculture as simply "holding a hoe and a hard job" should be scraped and replaced with a lucrative income-generating image, he said.
He said with such a large area of open land, the agricultural sector has been identified as one of the engines of Sarawak's economic growth through the Post COVID-19 Development Strategy (PCDS 2030).
"We're going to study whatever input you learn from this congress and it's part of our move toward sustainable agriculture," he said.
He said that with the use of production technology and food quality can be improved and at the same time the market should be identified and developed.
Therefore, Sarawak has established a trade relationship with Singapore so that there is a market for food products from Sarawak and then the market can be extended to other countries due to the strength of Singapore as a distribution center for goods throughout the Asian region, he added.
He said as a step to operate the policy towards ensuring food security and agricultural parks or Agroparks will be developed which will be equipped with various infrastructures especially the Internet in line with initiatives towards digitalization.
During the ceremony, there was also an exchange of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Swinburne University as well as the symbolic handover of AgriHub@Gedong project funds under the management of UPM.
The congress received the participation of more than 300 participants with keynote lectures, oral presentations and posters highlighting solutions and suggestions in aspects related to agriculture and food security.
Minister of Commodity Food Industry and Regional Development, Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom also spoke.
Also present were Deputy Minister of Food Industry, Commodities and Regional Development Sarawak 1 Datuk Dr. Abdul Rahman Ismail, Deputy Minister of Food Industry, Commodities and Regional Development Sarawak 2 Martin Ben, Chairman of the Board of Directors of UPM Tengku Syarif Laksamana Perlis Dato' Seri DiRaja Syed Razlan Syed Putra Jamalullail, UPM Vice-Chancellor Dato' Prof. Dr. Mohd Roslan Sulaiman and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Food Industry, Commodities and Regional Development of Sarawak Datu Edwin Abit.
Date of Input: 26/09/2022 | Updated: 27/09/2022 | lanz
97008 Bintulu, Sarawak,