Natural resources in Sarawak key to develop strong bioeconomy
With an abundance in natural resources and its strategic geographical location, Sarawak has excellent conditions to develop a strong bioeconomy the state should take advantage of.
“As of 2014, bioeconomy as a whole contributed up to 15.8 per cent of the total Malaysian GDP, a contribution equivalent to RM175.4 billion,” said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau.
On January 8th, Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation organised Bioeconomy Day to identify potential bio-based projects in Sarawak that could be included under the Bioeconomy Transformation Programme (BTP) and Bioeconomy Community Development Programme (BCDP).
Blessed with an abundance of natural resources, Madius said that it represented a lot of opportunity to come up with high value-added products.
Sarawak’s abundant natural resources create huge potential for bioeconomy growth driven by strong collaborative partnerships as well as facilities and infrastructures in Sarawak’s bio-based clusters said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu who was reading Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s text speech.
He added that six areas had already been identified to realise the full potential of the Sarawak bioeconomy, which are food-based industry, agro-based industry, oleo-resin industry, resource-based industry, integrated biofinery and natural products.
“Bioeconomy has the potential to bring about the multiplier effects on the economy and positively impact people’s income and welfare,” said Madius as he pointed out that they are looking forward for more products and innovations to be commercialised.
As both initiatives are closely aligned with the 11th Malaysia Plan, Madius said that through collaboration among public and private sectors in Sarawak especially through BCDP projects, it can improve the social mobility and income of the community.
“We are looking to unleash the potential of bio-based companies in Sarawak and create new BTP and BCDP projects as well as BioNexus Status companies amongst the local Sarawak business community. These efforts are expected to establish a strong bioeconomy in Sarawak and improve the state’s economic growth, thus enhancing inclusiveness towards an equitable society,” said Madius.
According to Madius, with Sarawak’s economy growing substantially over the years, new initiatives are required to diversify the state’s economy and provide added value across all its sectors, particularly in the industrial and agricultural industries.
“In this respect, the implementation of BTP and BCDP in Sarawak can speed up this process as the state is able to shift away from its commodities based economy,” he said.
During a presentation session, BiotechCorp Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Datuk Dr Mohd Nazlee Kamal said that among the potential BCDP projects in Sarawak are mushroom cultivation, seeds production, shrimp and fish aquaculture and bee farming.
Launched on October 30th 2012 during the National Bioeconomy Council Meeting, BTP, is a platform provided by the Malaysian government for private sectors to channel and maximize commercial opportunities in bio based industries.
BCDP involves the enlistment of rural farmers and settlers to cultivate raw materials potentially as inputs for BioNexus Status companies and BTP owned companies.
Participated by 150 participants from ministry agencies, bioeconomy stakeholders, industry players and researchers, to discuss and share bio-based commercial projects that could be incorporated into BTP and BCDP, the event was also a platform for the launching of the 2014 BiotechCorpAnnual Report and 205 BTP Annual Report, a document exchange between a BTP company, Ronser Bio-Tech Berhad (Ronser), a company focusing on integrated waste treatment solutions and Casabrina Vacation Villas Sdn Bhd.