Sabah agricultural action plan to boost income of farmers, landowners

Chief Minister Shafie Apdal (front left) after receiving the Sabah Agricultural Development Action Plan from Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Junz Wong today.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Agricultural Development Action Plan to be launched next month will focus on boosting the income of farmers and landowners through the planting of strategic crops and a government-aided marketing system.

Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Junz Wong said the comprehensive plan would incorporate policies to empower smallholders as well as agricultural industry players.

He said the ministry proposed to assist small-scale farmers to plant and market their produce.

“For example, if a farmer has only 0.16ha, the government agencies can assist them to plant Grade MD2 pineapples which could give them a side income of up to RM18,000 a year,” he said after presenting the action plan to Chief Minister Shafie Apdal today.

Similarly, he said 1.2ha planted with coconut trees could generate an income of at least RM1,200 a month.

Wong said the action plan was in line with the state’s objective of providing land for the people and ensuring that such land was used for economic activities to generate profits.

“We are ready to cooperate with all grant recipients to embark on agricultural programmes because we are concerned that there will be land left idle or, worse, sold.

“The ministry has conducted statewide surveys on agricultural land and we know what type of crops are suitable for each district or area,” he said.

He was confident the action plan would make Sabah a net exporter of agricultural products.

“The next meeting with the chief minister on the action plan will be held next week. We are hoping to finalise everything by then,” he said.