KUCHING: The Sarawak Farmers Organisation (SFO) aims to become a key player towards achieving the state’s target of becoming a net food exporter by 2030.
SFO chairman Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail said Sarawak currently had a food trade deficit of about RM3.4bil, with imports totalling about RM4bil annually.
“By 2030, we hope to gain a surplus of about RM2bil as compared to the deficit now.
“We want SFO and the 28 area farmers organisations under it to be the main player in contributing towards this target,” he told reporters after the opening of SFO’s annual general meeting here on Thursday (Oct 22).
Towards this end, Dr Rahman said SFO would come up with a five-year plan from 2021 to 2025 to improve food processing and marketing, besides raising the income of farmers to RM6,000-a-month by 2030.
He said the state government had agreed in principle to allocate a grant of RM50mil to SFO for the next five years for this purpose.
“The focus is on marketing because this is the most challenging aspect faced by our farmers.
“SFO has been tasked to assist farmers with marketing their products and we will conduct workshops on this.
“We also need to ensure that our products meet international standards. So the RM50mil allocation will cover producing quality products and packaging to ensure that our products can be marketed externally,” he said.
Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datuk Roland Sagah, who opened the AGM, said SFO should be more aggressive in business in order to generate more revenue for its members.
“We encourage SFO to play a role as an anchor company to buy produce from its members.
“SFO should also start to identify overseas markets and tailor its production accordingly,” he said.
SFO has about 174,000 members throughout Sarawak.