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Last Update: 18 Aug 2019
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Uggah: RM500 mil for drainage, irrigation works in IRSDA areas
Posted on : 10 May 2019  Source of News: The Borneopost online

KUCHING: The Sarawak government has set aside RM500 million to develop and upgrade drainage and irrigation infrastructure in areas managed by the Integrated Regional Samarahan Development Agency (IRSDA) in the next five years.

Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, who pointed this out yesterday, said his ministry would request for additional allocation to carry out similar works in other areas across Sarawak.

According to him, the allocation was for large areas of potential agriculture land within the coastal belt that are presently constrained by problematic conditions such as peaty and acidic soils, extreme wetness due to high water table, tidal intrusions resulting in high salinity and severe threats of flooding.

“There are also existing farming areas where the drainage and irrigation infrastructure is still inadequate, and needs to be upgraded.

“Those areas include about 73,000 hectares of land under the numerous drainage and irrigation schemes that have been developed by the Drainage and Irrigation Department,” he said in his winding-up speech yesterday.

The deputy chief minister said the Agriculture Department continued to construct access road linking farms and farm clusters to existing road network.

Last year, he said the department was able to construct, upgrade and maintain 73km of farm road at a cost of RM8.3 million, benefiting 2,282 farmers.

Uggah said progammes namely AgroPark, Permanent Food Production Zone (PFPZ), Aquaculture Industry Zone (AIZ) and Pig Farming Area (PFA) were being implemented.

The Sarawak government, he added, had approved the establishment of AgroPark in three areas namely two in Sarikei and one in Samarahan.

“The development of infrastructure at Sg Baji AgroPark in Sarikei has begun and it is expected to be completed and operational by 2020. The other two AgroParks are in their final stage of planning.”

He added that the ministry ‘is planning to set up more AgroParks throughout Sarawak including in Samalaju’.

He said the Department of Agriculture Sarawak had established PFPZs in five areas namely Kabuloh, Rampangi, Semengok, Pejiru and Penipah, covering an area of 366 hectares and involving 104 agropreneurs.

The largest and most successful being PFPZ Kabuloh which covers an area of 248 hectares with participants earning an average monthly income of about RM7,000, he added.

He said the highest monthly income achieved by one of the participants was RM58,000.

According to him, an additional four PFPZs would be established in Julau (Meluan constituency), Kubong (Limbang), Debak (Betong) and Sungai Maaw (Sibu).

Uggah also informed the House that four project areas had been gazetted for AIZ (aquaculture purposes). They are Batang Ai Dam in Sri Aman, Sundar Awat-Awat (Lawas), Rambungan (Kuching) and Selalang (Sarikei).

“My ministry will examine the feasibility of setting up an AIZ in Beting Maro constituency,” he added.