The agriculture sector remains as one of the main sectors in Sarawak.
Thus, this prompted the Ministry of Modernization of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development (MANDRED), Sarawak to work closely with the local community.
This is evident as most of the local community heavily relies on the agriculture sector to provide livelihood, income and employment for themselves and their families.
So, when asked what MANDRED’s the most frequently received complaints or inquiries from the community regarding the agriculture sector, the permanent secretary of MANDRED, Encik Edwin Abit said that most would involves inquiries on assistance or schemes offered by the ministry and the Department of Agriculture (DOA) Sarawak.
“Among the types of reports that are frequently received from the public are complaints or inquiries on assistance or schemes regarding agriculture, fisheries and livestock,” said Encik Edwin.
“In this regard, the ministry through the relevant departments and agencies actively publicize the assistance or schemes provided through social media, print media and electronic media,” he added.
Among the type of assistances or schemes provided are;
- Agricultural Input Assistance to Oil Palm & Pepper Smallholders
As of this year, the Government has approved an allocation of RM60 million to assist smallholders of oil palm and pepper.
- Fishermen’s Monsoon Assistance Aid (BMTN)
In 2020, a total of RM8.61 million was disbursed under BMTN in the form of cash assistance to 5,733 participants, where each fisherman receives RM300 per month for five months (January, February, March, November and December).
- Fishermen Input and Fishing Equipment Assistance (BIPN)
Under BIPN, a total of RM20 million has been allocated to assist about 10,000 participants through the provision of fishing equipment to participants.
- Farm Infrastructure Program
This program ensures connectivity between the farmers and the markets.
Under the Farm Infrastructure Program, 2,000 kilometres of farm roads are built with a total cost of RM125 million, where it is has benefitted more than 28, 000 participants across Sarawak.
- Contract Farm Program 2.0
The Contract Farm Program 2.0 is a cooperation between the State and the Federal Government in providing marketing facilities and market access to farmers to sell agricultural products.
Apart from that, Encik Edwin also mentioned that the ministry (through department and relevant agencies) also conducted several outreach programs and corporate social responsibility (CSR) project.
During the Movement Control Order (MC), the Government has allocated RM1.5 million to 28 Area Farmers’ Organization (PPK) to purchase surplus agricultural produce.
A total of 449 metric tonnes of agricultural produce have been purchase from approximately 500 farmers to date.
A total of 231 metric tonnes (51.4 per cent) were sold to the market while the remaining was donated to those in need.
In addition to that, MANDRED through the Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (SALCRA) has also conducted various CSR program which includes:
- Supplementary Economic Activity or Aktiviti Ekonomi Tambahan (AET) – assistance to increase the income of the target group
- Development of infrastructure and basic facilities – includes construction of community hall, village road, bridge, village water supply project (gravity piped water supply)
- Education loan assistance – For eligible participants and children of participants
- Building facilities for clinics and kindergartens
- Construction of houses of worship – includes mosque and chapel
For more information and inquiries or the lodge complaints, the public may contact the ministry through their website, email, MANDRED’s official Facebook page or the Talikhidmat system.