Hajiji reminds Sabah Agriculture Ministry to consider the hardcore poor when planning.

KOTA KINABALU – Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor says that the state’s agriculture and fishing programs must give priority to Sabah’s poorest residents.

The Chief Minister gave this instruction during his visit to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Industry Ministry on Tuesday, June 4.

He said that the Ministry must include the most desperate poor in its plans and programmes to eradicate poverty in Sabah.

“The Ministry must not forget the poor,” he stated during the meeting held at Wisma pertanian.

According to the eKasih database (National Poverty Data Bank System), as of May 18, Sabah’s hardest-core poor households dropped to 8,699.

I hope that more ministries will include them in their initiatives. Hajiji continued, “We want to ensure that they are lifted from poverty.”

He said that based on the briefings by four departments and agencies under his ministry, plans are in place to move Sabah’s agricultural, fishery, and food industries ahead.

The Chief Minister stressed that the newly-established Sabah Padi and Rice Board must move as quickly as possible in order to increase Sabah’s self-sufficiency food level (SSL).

He said that the state cabinet had mandated that land not being used by companies with government links be converted to agriculture, especially padi.

Hajiji stated that the ministry can provide the resources needed.

Earlier, Deputy Minister I Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan stated that LPBS is being set up in order to increase Sabah’s SSL from 65% to 100% by 2035.

Kitingan, also the state Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Industry minister, announced that his ministry would be appointing a board of 15 members, including a chairperson for the LPBS.

He said that the board will focus on increasing padi yields to seven metric tons per hectare from an average of 2.9 tonnes per hectare.

He said this would be achieved through the development of abandoned padi fields in order to increase the acreage, and by opening new fields via partnerships with state GLCs or private investors.

He said the board will be responsible for issuing export and import permits, as well as packaging rice and padi in Sabah.

Hajiji was accompanied by cabinet ministers, Datuk Seri Safar Undtong (State Secretary) and other senior government officials.

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