KOTA KINABALU: The state government is injecting at least RM50mil to fund agricultural research in Sabah in a bid to achieve 100% self-sufficiency in food production, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.
Sabah, he added, had also formed a committee to address food security issues.
Kitingan, who is state Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, said the fund would be used to upgrade agricultural research facilities in Sandakan, Tawau and Tuaran.
“All these research facilities have successfully produced a variety of food products that can help us in our efforts to secure food for the people.
“As a bonus, these products are highly profitable because of their high quality,” he said during a visit to the Ulu Dusun Agricultural Research station in Sandakan.
Currently, the state’s Agriculture Department only receives about RM2mil per year for research and development purposes.
“Our research centres are critical to our operations because without the expertise and knowledge of our researchers, we will have to rely on research carried out by the private sector or even overseas on our own local plants,” said Kitingan.
“We don’t want that to happen because it will mean losing commercial opportunities, not to mention the possibility of biopiracy of our local biodiversity,” he added.