Looking up to agro-entrepreneur Yap to boost Sabah’s agriculture

Sabah Rural Development Minister Ewon Benedick (right) speaking to Malaysia’s mentor for agro-entrepreneurs, Yap Yun Fook (second from right), during a visit to Yap’s Musang King durian farm in Keningau.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will be taking tips from one of Asia’s most prominent entrepreneurs to develop its agriculture programme for the rural community.

State Rural Development Minister Ewon Benedick said he is looking forward to working with Yap Yun Fook, who was named as mentor for Malaysia’s agro-entrepreneurs last March.

He said Yap’s vast experience and knowledge will be valuable in developing the Mini Estate Sejahtera (Mesej) programme.

“Our ministry has many tracts of lands that have yet to be developed. We want the land to be planted with crops with high commercial value, as recommended by Yap.

“Mesej participants will plant the crops and Yap will acquire them. This is a good collaboration but we will finalise the details once we have a formal discussion with Yap.”

He was speaking to reporters after inspecting a livestock and vegetable farm belonging to Yap at Kampung Ansip in Sabah’s interior Keningau district on Tuesday.

Yap was named as mentor for the country’s agro-entrepreneurs by the federal agriculture and agro-based industry ministry, which acknowledged his success in the agriculture and fisheries industries in his 37-year career.

Yap was also the recipient of the Malaysian Livestock Industry Award 2018.

Yap started his venture into livestock farming with just two cows in 1982. His dairy farming at the Eco Yap plantation in Keningau is the biggest producer of fresh milk in the country.

Ewon said the state Cabinet had allowed the state rural development ministry to look at other crops, besides rubber and palm oil.

“After seeing for myself the success of Yap’s farm, I believe his expertise will be invaluable to elevate Mesej in terms of agriculture to another level,” he said.