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A common R&D facility for BIMP-Eaga proposed

KUCHING: To help propel exports of agriculture produce, a common Research and Development Centre to be shared by member countries of the BIMP-Eaga has been proposed during the BIMP-Eaga Agri/Agro Cluster meeting here.

BIMP-Eaga Business Council (BEBC) Malaysia Chairman Datuk Roselan Johar Mohamed said the facility was needed to boost exports in terms of product diversity and sustainability.

Roselan (seated third from right) with members of the BIMP-Eaga Agri/Agro Cluster meeting in Kuching. SNT Pix/Credit BEBC Malaysia

In this respect, he said BEBC had been tasked to do a study on the matter especially when it involves joint participation of the BIMP countries and its development partner, China.

“The Malaysian government and its GLCs, and the various universities have research labs of their own and we hope to have discussions with them to determine the best and appropriate models to choose from.

“Above all, we need a research lab that can adequately investigate and explain as to why Malaysian investors are shunning the planting of Cavendish banana when it is a thriving business with our neighbours, Taiwan, Equador and Mozambique,” he said in a statement on Saturday.

According to him, the meeting was also briefed about the very high mortality rate in rearing of crabs from hatcheries to adult crabs.  

“It is hope that the proposed R&D centre can explain the factors and mitigate the early deaths.  

“There was also a proposal to adopt Sabah’s unique Tagal system on mangrove swamps to reduce the catch of small crabs.  We hope something can be done so that it can be implemented,” he said.

Roselan said in reality a top-notched laboratory where all kinds of agri/agro problems could be referred to is badly needed.

“We know that this facility can be very expensive to maintain and governmental support from the four countries of BIMP is very crucial. China’s participation is also much needed because whatever that has been planted or grown or even reared here will finally land in China,” he said.

Roselan said the meeting was also briefed by the AGROMEIQ of Brunei concerning the digitisation of the small-holders.

“They look forward to devoting their resources to the research and development of more efficient and advanced farm technologies,” he said.

On the planting of Pawlounia Elongata, Roselan said the meeting was briefed that Sarawak has started the pilot project of planting over 400 acres of land.  

“The plants are now eight months old and we will have to wait another four years more to evaluate the commercial viability of this tree, which is supposedly believed to be the future export saviour of both Sarawak and Sabah,” he said.-SabahNewsToday