March 31 2005 - SABAH, with its vast land available for development,offers investors plenty of opportunities to venture into agriculture.
Sabah Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Ismail saidabout 870,000ha of the 2.12 million hectares suitable for agriculture inthe state have yet to be cultivated.
Briefing the participants of the International CEOs Conference onagriculture investment opportunities in Sabah, he said the state isembarking on large-scale cultivation of rice, vegetables and fruits.
"Our objective is for the state to be self-sufficient in rice, vegetableand fruit production by the year 2010," he said.
The investment potentials are in commercial rice farming, farmmechanisation services, rice milling and cultivation of high-valuevegetables and fruits for export.
Abdul Rahim also said the Government has earmarked 1,652ha in Tawau,Kinabatangan and Papar to be developed as permanent food production parks.
Other investment opportunities are in the downstream processing of palmoil as Sabah has more than one million hectares of oil palm plantations.
Abdul Rahim said there is sufficient raw material to support at least fiveoleochemical plants with a production capacity of 100,000 tonnes each.
Sabah, which contributes 58 per cent of Malaysia’s cocoa production, alsowelcomes investment in downstream manufacturing of cocoa products such aschocolate, beverage, confectionery and pharmaceuticals.
Abdul Rahim said deep-sea fishing and aquaculture development are theother areas which have yet to be fully tapped.
A total of 69,900ha have been identified for aquaculture products such asseaweeds, marine fish, marine crustaceans and fresh-water fish.