Need For Sabah To Boost Maize, Rice And Milk Production – Junz

KOTA KINABALU: There is a need for Sabah to boost maize, rice and milk production, given that these food crops are the main sources of agricultural income for the state in the future said Parti Warisan (Warisan) vice president, Datuk Junz Wong

In this context, Junz urges both the federal and state governments to pay serious attention to the issues affecting local farmers and livestock breeders, with regards to food insecurity and inflation.

“I would like to ask the current Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries, Datuk Seri Dr. Ronald Kiandee who is also a Sabahan himself, on his follow up plan to help farmers and livestock breeders in Sabah.

“Farmers and livestock in Sabah are also producing food for Malaysians, therefore they should be given the same privilege as enjoyed by fishermen in terms of diesel subsidies.

“Till now, only fishermen enjoy subsidised diesel of RM1.60 per litre. In contrast, farmers and livestock breeders pay over RM5 per litre. Although I had brought up the diesel subsidies issue to the federal government many times, no response was given to date,” he said in a statement released today.

The Tanjung Aru assemblyman stressed that farmers and breeders worked tirelessly to contribute food to the nation, hence they should be entitled for incentives such as diesel subsidies.

Junz also congratulated Borneo Oil Berhad (BornOil) Group and Softwise Sdn Bhd (Softwise) and their strategic partners for their achievement in strengthening production of grain maize in Sabah based on ESG (environment, social and governance) principles.

The companies utilise regenerative carbon farming methods to produce grain maize in a sustainable manner, with assistance from rural communities, small holders and corporations.

The former Agriculture and Food Industry minister is optimistic that local grain maize production would be the way to generate animal feeds within the state and empower local communities with income and job opportunities in the next five to ten years.

Junz said as of June, maize has experienced a price hike of 14.8%. On the other hand, fertiliser and wheat also witnessed over 50% of price increase – by 84.7% and 60.9%, respectively.

Noting that Sabah has the highest unemployment (9% as of 2021) and poverty rate (25.3% as of 2020), the rising food price inflation will cause Sabahans to barely able to survive as they have to allocate more income for food consumption.

“Imagine those who are still unemployed during this challenging time, how are they going to survive?

Junz said while the current federal and state administrations are showing lots of incompetency, he is nevertheless delighted to note proactive steps are being taken by local private sectors through various initiatives.

“These initiatives provide a spark of hope for Sabahans who are currently struggling to cope with rising food price inflation,” he concluded.