Why many Sabah agri projects fail
Published on: Sunday, September 11, 2022
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Very few cattle projects surviving
The Sabah Ministry of Agriculture from time to time announced hundreds of Rural Economic projects, both agriculture and animal husbandry. Regrettably nearly all these “goodie goodie” projects have failed DESPITE the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS SPENT. Last week Datuk Yap Yun Fook, a successful dairy cattle farmer entrepreneur from Keningau, stated that of the thousands of Dairy Cattle Projects, all have failed with very few left and surviving. This is a failure of monumental proportions given that our rural folks are in desperate need of sustainable economic projects.

Rural Economic projects announced over the last 20 years often failed because it was planned such the farmer undertakes the project on a full time basis on his farm.

Secondly, the programmes were also defective. The planting of vanilla by the Agriculture Department claim that farmers can earn as much as RM93,000 a year. The vanilla project failed as the department planted vanilla vines on either belian or concrete posts. This deprived vanilla vines from any nutrients. The dairy cattle project failed as farmers were only given 10 heads of dairy cattle. It is important to note that not all cattle will bear milk at the same time but rather a few each time. This is not enough work or income for the farmer and as a result the farmer must look for other jobs to supplement himself and his family.

Other rural economic projects that failed include planting passion fruits, pineapple, banana, goat farming, , duck farming, burung puyu farming, rabbits (for satay) and others. In addition to the above, there are other “half baked” programmes. The minimum setup required for any agriculture or animal projects is to have processing centres to facilitate farmers and offer fixed prices, otherwise economic projects will continue to fail.  Sabah as the poorest state in Malaysia need enhancing. Sarawak has already overtaken Sabah in agriculture production particularly Musang King Durian.

The Sabah Agriculture Ministry continue to announce fancy projects. Just this week 20th July, it announced seaweed farming around the Semporna and Lahad Datu area. This seaweed programme must have already been proposed over 10 times over the years. It is just another project announcement destined to fail.

Nevertheless, Sabah leaders are aware that Sabahans like to hear of all the fancy rural projects that promise a comfortable life doing nothing. After all, Sabah cash flow primarily depend on civil servant monthly salaries from the Federal and Sabah Government.  

The Federal and State Governments of Malaysia have more civil servants compared to Brunei per capita. Mara for example has numerous centres and offices for “giat sana dan giat sini”. These giat sana dan giat sini produce absolutely nothing tangible. They exist to create employment for select cronies. 


- The views expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Express.

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