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Oleh Chris Maskilone

Datuk Junz Wong photo with participants of the Introduction Course in Fresh Water Lobster and Aquaponic Farming in Sandakan. SNT Pix/Credit MAFI

SANDAKAN: Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Datuk Junz Wong said funds will be allocated to assist all aquaponic and hydroponic farming via aquaculture programmes.

Special emphasis is being given to the sector because aquaculture is in the Ministry’s blueprint, he said after officiating at the Introductory Course in Fresh Water Lobster and Aquaponic Farming organised by GE Nitrate Solutions here on Saturday.

Junz said he was really encouraged by efforts to push more Sabahans, especially youth from rural areas to learn about the green aquaponic technology in rearing fresh water lobsters to earn more income and supply to the market.

“This is especially so at times like these when commodity prices such as rubber and palm oil are low, to help our rural farmers to earn more income,” he said.

Organiser of Introduction Course in Fresh Water Lobster and Aquaponic farming presenting a memento to Junz. SNT Pix/Credit MAFI

The minister also encouraged farmers to invest in aquaculture through both hydroponic and aquaponic green technology in vegetables and fishes.

“In an aquaponic system, you are achieving a natural nitrogen balance, that is the hallmark of an established eco-system,” he said.

“Hydroponic and aquaponic can even be done in- house. It is organic and healthy and poise to become the future of Sabah agriculture,” he said.

Towards this end, Junz commended the effort and participation by GE Nitrate Solutions in aquaponic farming.

He said it was also imperative for the supply chain to be secured by ensuring the availability of seedlings, hatchery, input supply, farm and outlet trading.

Initially hydroponic and aquaponic modules have been reputed as self-consumption ventures however, in long-term it is expected not just to be confined to supplying for the local but also export market, he said.

In order to further develop fresh water lobster breeding in an aquaponic system, there must be a sustainable support such as market intelligence and R & D programme in place.

Junz also visited the young entrepreneurs aquaponic farms led by Bryan Soh done in the compound of their residences.

Junz visiting the young entrepreneurs aquaponic farms led by Bryan Soh (centre). SNT Pix/Credit MAFI

They were making a reasonably good returns from chemical-free produce vegetables such as lettuce and fish, among them talapia.

“Even Sabah market has an apparent demand for these organic producd but there are just not enough supply. Thus, I urge more Sabahans to learn and venture into this business,” he said.

His ministry on its part would design schemes that assist farmers to go modern using green sustainable technology namely via the aquaponic and hydroponic system, he said.-SabahNewsToday