BETONG, Aug 16 — The state Ministry of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development will subsidise RM2,000 worth of fertiliser this year for each pepper farming family in Betong division who are hit hard by the low price of the commodity, its minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said today.
“This may not be sufficient, but it will help them reduce the maintenance cost,” he said when officiating at the state Agriculture Department Community Extension Outreach Programme at Jambai Bunsu longhouse in Kerapa Spak, near here.
Uggah, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister, said Betong division is one of the state’s biggest producers of the commodity.
“Many here are still maintaining their farms despite the low market price now. This is good for the industry,” he said.
Uggah said Betong Area Farmer’s Organisation will buy the pepper berries at a reasonable price even when the market price is low.
“It will process and pack the pepper using modern technology to enhance its export to Singapore and European countries,” he added.
He said the ministry of agriculture, native land and regional development will supply a pepper processing machine for installation at the Farmer’s Organisation Office here for the benefit of farmers.
Meanwhile, on politics, Uggah, who is also Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) deputy president, dismissed allegations by opposition supporters that the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leaders, apart from being ineffective, are only looking after the interests of their contacts.
He cautioned rural voters to be wary of these opposition supporters who would become active on the ground just before the state election.
“These supporters are political langau (green bottle fly) who would dwell on rotten matters, like lies and slanders and they will make many promises which are difficult to implement,” he said.
Among those present at the function were former Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang, Layar State Assemblyman Gerald Rentap, Ministry of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development’s Permanent Secretary Edwin Abit, Political Secretary Dr Richard Rapu and Resident of Betong Division Friday Belik.