Sarawak key to food masterplan, says Mustapa

  • Nation
  • Monday, 21 Apr 2008

MYT 1:35:38 PM

JELI: Sarawak, the country’s biggest state, is now looked upon as key to the country's national food security masterplan (FSS) following the recent escalating global prices of food commodities, especially rice.

Sarawak has huge land banks which can be cultivated and the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Ministry has selected rice as a major farming produce there, Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said.

The east Malaysian state can become another ''rice bowl'' in the forseeable future, Mustapa said after visiting a 46ha mandarin orange planting scheme in Legeh here on Sunday.

Mustapa said the ideal conditions in Sarawak are ample land bank and a small population base so it would be easier to create the necessary infrastructure such as irrigation canals for farming.

On the FSS, Mustapa said he would table the initial masterplan framework to Cabinet this week.

The FSS is now finetuned to take into account the lingering effects of an acute shortage of food commodities worldwide, which is brought on by climate changes through global warming, higher demand from emerging economies and a growing affluent society.

The FSS is both a short-term and long-term policy and its main goal is to ensure a sustainable supply of main food commodities for Malaysia, such as rice, sugar, flour, cooking oil and cattle, Mustapa said.

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