Getting agriculture technicians to specialise


  • Community
  • Tuesday, 05 Sep 2017

Uggah (third from right) and state Agriculture Department director Datuk Lai Kui Fong (second from right) launching the Malaysia Skills Certificate programme in farming at the Sarawak Agriculture Institute.

KUCHING: The Sarawak Agriculture Institute will review its syllabus in order to produce technicians specialising in various fields of agriculture.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said specialist technicians were needed to serve as extension officers who provide advice to farmers and smallholders in rural areas.

“Now a lot of our extension officers are generalists. They are expected to know every-thing, which in some cases are difficult for them to give specific advice.

“I’m now directing the institute to relook its syllabus and how to build up technicians. For example, if a farmer wants to know how to take care of his durian trees, we have technical people who know the A to Z about durians.

“In other words, towards the end of their course, we want them to specialise in a particular area, which includes livestock and fishery,” he told reporters after the institute’s convocation.

Uggah (second from left) presenting a certificate to a graduate at the convocation ceremony in Kuching.
Uggah (second from left) presenting a certificate to a graduate at the convocation ceremony in Kuching.

Uggah said the institute currently offered two-year certificate programmes which were general in nature.

“The question is whether we want to extend another year or do one year general and the second year go into a specialised field,” he said.

The agriculture technicians, he added, would be able to help farmers modernise, increase their productivity, improve the quality of their produce and raise their income in line with the state government’s target of RM4,000 per month by 2030.

For instance, he said technicians in artificial insemination could help boost the breeding of cattle and goats in the state.

“Now we do not really have artificial insemination services and our cattle and goats are breeding at their natural pace.

“At that pace we are moving too slowly. That’s why our self-sufficiency level is only 10% for cattle and 7% for goats. So we want to build up a team of technical people who can do artificial insemination and schedule the production of the livestock,” Uggah said.

At the convocation, 98 graduates from the institute’s 2015-2017 session received their certificates.

Uggah also launched the Malaysia Skills Certificate programme in farming at the institute during the ceremony.


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