Big boost for agriculture – Junz
KOTA KINABALU: Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Datuk Junz Wong praised State Budget 2019 as announced by Chief Minister cum Finance Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hj Mohd. Shafie Apdal, for putting Agriculture and Food Industry as one of the major development focuses, with a total allocation of RM534.85 million to develop the sector next year.
The minister expressed his gratefulness to the CM for emphasizing on agriculture sector development, and he (Junz) would make sure farmers, fishermen and all other target groups would get maximum benefit from this budget.
Junz said that despite challenges resulting from the ban on timber exports and loss of much revenue, (the government) still managed to take care of the people with a surplus budget.
“Under the leadership of Datuk Seri Shafie the government proposed a total expenditure allocation of RM4.16 billion next year against an estimated revenue of RM4.27 billion. This would mean a surplus budget involving a sum of RM105.32 million, which is important to maintain the state’s financial stability,” he added.
“It shows Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal is the right one to head the financial portfolio.”
The minister applauded and welcomed the state budget for next year which emphasised on further developing the main economic sector such as agriculture, tourism and industry development.
He said the good news for rubber estate smallholders was the allocation of RM35.16 million to Sabah Rubber Industry Board (LIGS) to manage and implement rubber development programmes in year 2019.
“I’ll not let CM down as he has shown so much confidence in my ministry, and has allocated such big amount to boost up the development in the state agriculture. I’ll do all my best to make sure it goes well,” he said.
The CM, cum Minister of Finance in his 2019 Budget speech, read out a total allocation of RM534.85 million, of which RM142.89 million was allocated to the Department of Agriculture to continue and uplift its programmes in Sabah.
With such allocation, Junz re-emphasised on CM’s focus to increase food crop production, especially rice, fruits and vegetables.
According to the newly announced state budget, the Sabah government would also allocate RM19.24 million to manage and implement rural agricultural development programmes under the Rural Development Corporation (KPD) in year 2019. RM34.81 million to the Fisheries Department and RM12.9 million to Ko-Nelayan in order to further enhance the development of the fisheries sector.
Meanwhile, RM68.09 million was allocated to the Department of Veterinary Services for the purpose of managing and implementing livestock development programmes and to provide veterinary services.
The Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) plays an important role in providing irrigation and drainage infrastructure for agricultural activities, particularly the cultivation of paddy and highland vegetables. For this, the government allocated approximately RM3.01 million in year 2019, in addition to the RM19.11 million of Federal Reimbursables in the same year. This allocation would be spent among others on minor repair works on paddy fields and drainage plants in various districts in Sabah; irrigation and drainage plants in Kota Belud and Kuala Penyu.