KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Agro-Industrial Precinct (Saip) in Kimanis will soon be placed under the Sabah Agriculture and Ministry (Mafi), said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.
Jeffrey, who is also Sabah Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, said the management, however, will be handled by a state steering committee, together with the Sabah Economic Development Authority (Sedia), the Ministry of Industrial Development (MID) and the Institute for Development Studies (IDS).
“The ministry is highly interested in this facility because of its potentials, but we must work together to ensure it would not turn into another white elephant,” he said after a visit to Saip.
The Deputy Chief Minister said his ministry is the most suitable to handle the facility because it could control the whole supply and value chain of the food industry, from mainly agricultural raw materials up to the finished products.
Saip is a technology precinct that serves as an enabler or platform for the development of agro-based industry focusing on food and specialty crops up to high value pharmaceutical, health and wellness products, and driven by technological processing, bio-technology innovation, research and development (R&D).
Since it was completed in 2018, it has not been able to fulfil its potential, and the problem was made worse by the Movement Control Order (MCO).
Jeffrey said he is confident with the right team and a combined effort from the Ministry, Sedai, MID and IDS, the facility will finally achieve its objectives of producing successful local entrepreneurs and producing Sabah home-grown brands for the international market.
“My goal is to ensure this facility will contribute towards our goal of attaining self-sufficiency in food production. We have been importing food too much. Why can’t we produce enough food for our people with our resources?
“Nowadays, we have many modern and precision agriculture methods, yet we are still lagging behind. We need to improve on our R&D and train our people who are interested in agro-based industry,” he said.