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      13 December 2019  

Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries receives courtesy visit by SEDIA


Kota Kinabalu (Friday) - The Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) today paid a courtesy visit to Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) Datuk Junz Wong, with the delegation led by Chief Executive Datuk Dr. Mohd Yaakub Hj Johari. The objective of the visit was to discuss collaboration towards the development of the agriculture sector in Sabah, especially during the Twelfth Malaysia Plan.

  State Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries Datuk Junz Wong receiving a memento from SEDIA Chief Executive Datuk Dr. Mohd Yaakub Hj Johari during a courtesy visit by SEDIA

During the discussion, Datuk Junz Wong highlighted the urgency to develop agriculture infrastructure, especially an international agri bazaar in Papar to support trading and marketing of agriculture produce, Tawau Refrigerated Container Facilities, Kalabakan Food Hub, the i-Port One-Stop Centre for fisheries, as well as air freight logistics facilities. The minister also welcomes SEDIA to work closely with MAFI and its agencies in the implementation of the Sabah Agriculture Blueprint 2021-2030, and towards developing downstream processing activities and marketing agri-products. Also discussed were several proposals from potential Australian and Japanese investors to develop Sabah as a Halal food export hub, and also shrimp farming activities using modern farming, harvesting and processing technology.

Several major agriculture initiatives developed through the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) such as the Keningau Integrated Livestock Centre (KILC) and the Sabah Agro-Industrial Precinct (SAIP) were also highlighted. With this in mind, SEDIA welcomes the opportunity to strengthen existing collaboration with the ministry. The Minister, who is also Tanjung Aru assemblyman, had first established ties through a courtesy visit to SEDIA in 2018 soon after taking on the Agriculture and Food Industries portfolio, and more recently had attended the SEDIA 10-year anniversary Open Day held at SAIP.

SAIP is one of the major SDC projects focused on the agriculture sector. With an estimated area of 185 acres, SAIP is envisaged as a centre of excellence in agro-biotechnology that optimises the state's biodiversity and abundant natural resources to produce higher value-added food and specialty products based on botanicals, aquatic plants and animals. The machinery and equipment at SAIP include laboratory equipment specific for conducting plant tissue culture, horticulture research, product development, and food analysis. More than 90 types of machinery and equipment are provided for agriculture and herb downstream processing. By 2017, all of the physical construction works on phases one and two of SAIP project development, together with the procurement of various machinery and equipment, have been completed. These two phases of development consist of six facility infrastructure, housing the Administration and Incubation Centre, Research, Development, Commercialisation and Innovation Laboratory, Post-Harvest Collection and Handling centre, food processing Production Line Facility, Herb Manufacturing centre, and controlled-environment farming (CEF) greenhouses. Phase three of SAIP, which was completed earlier this year, houses a multipurpose hall, an auditorium and office/exhibition areas. Phase four of SAIP development is nearing completion, and provides a Cosmetics and Personal Care Manufacturing Facility which will have Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Halal certification, 20 units of SME lots, a storage building, and net houses.

One of the initiatives available at SAIP is the Agro-SAIP Training Programme, which was established with the aim to empower technopreneurs in the agri-based industry, by giving the necessary exposure and transfer of knowledge, especially on the processing of agri-food and SNPs. Through the training programme, participants are given access to experienced speakers and industry representatives in various sectors; speakers well-versed in pharma-herbs, Controlled Environment Farming, post-harvest handling technology, agro-organic and agro-food industries, business and marketing through e-Commence, and bio-science and biotechnology had been invited to come and share their experience and expertise with participants. The programme also screens potential agro-technopreneurs for entry into SDC SME development initiatives, thus preparing them to operate under a conducive incubator business environment.

The 834-hectare Keningau Integrated Livestock Centre (KILC) in the Sook sub-district, about 45 kilometres from the main Keningau town, is one of the largest cattle farms in the country. The state agriculture sector aims to achieve self-sufficiency in food production, produce high value commodities for export as well as to help eradicate poverty in the state. The KILC project will be able to help meet the demand for high quality dairy breeds, which is among the factors constraining the development of the dairy industry in Malaysia, and Sabah in particular. KILC components which are currently fully funded by the Federal government can help produce more high quality dairy breeds to be distributed to livestock breeders with the purpose of increasing dairy production and income.

SEDIA was established on January 15, 2009, through the adoption of Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority Enactment 2009. Through the enactment, SEDIA is vested with the necessary power to serve as the One-Stop Authority to plan, coordinate, promote and accelerate the development of SDC. SDC was launched earlier on January 29, 2008 during the Ninth Malaysia Plan as one of Malaysia's five regional economic corridors, with the aim to accelerate the growth of Sabah's economy, promote regional balance and bridge the urban-rural divide, while ensuring sustainable management of state resources.

- Media SEDIA

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