S'wak looks to improve marketing infrastructure for farmers

KUCHING: Sarawak is looking at improving the marketing infrastructure for farmers to facilitate the sale and export of their products, says Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah.

The Deputy Chief Minister said the state government had approved RM10mil this year to strengthen the Sarawak Farmers' Organisation (SFO) marketing system to be able to reach the export market.

"We want to become a net exporter of food by 2030, so we need to look into the whole supply chain from production and processing to marketing, not only within Sarawak but overseas.

"We have tasked SFO to come up with the mechanism and system," he said after opening the direct-from-farm sales programme by the Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (Fama) at Canaan Square here Thursday (Oct 28).

Uggah said Fama has outlets nationwide and would be able to assist SFO to build a marketing network.

He said the state was currently selling some agriculture and food products to Singapore and other countries.

"The most important thing is that we must be able to market our products.

"We have a lot of products, we must make sure they will reach the market," he said.

On the direct-from-farm programme, Uggah said it enabled farmers to sell their products directly to consumers without going through a middleman.

"Through this programme, we hope our farmers will be able to get a better price for their products," he said.

Meanwhile, Fama director-general Datuk Zainal Abidin Yang Razalli said the direct-from-farm programme generated total sales of RM5.12mil last year after being held in 416 locations nationwide.

So far this year, the programme has been held in 278 locations with participation from 364 contract farmers, generating sales of RM2.3mil.

Zainal Abidin also said Fama was helping to upgrade pasar tamu (farmers' markets) operated by local authorities in Sarawak.

He said the markets in Bau, Siburan, Simunjan and Sebuyau had already been upgraded while the one in Bekenu was in the process of being upgraded.

"We work with the local authorities to upgrade the pasar tamu with a new design and presentation.

"We have found that sales at upgraded pasar tamu increased by about 30%," he said.

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