Sarawak is the world's sole exporter of sago starch

Posted on 17 May 2024
Source of News: Suara Sarawak
Datuk Seri Dr. Stephen Rundi Utom

14 May 2024

The growth and evolution of the sago industry in Sarawak are dominated by smallholder sectors, contributing 97 percent of the estimated total planted area of 32,747 hectares as recorded by the Sarawak Department of Agriculture in 2022, mainly in the Mukah and Betong Divisions.

Minister of Food Industry, Commodities and Regional Development, Datuk Seri Dr. Stephen Rundi Utom said, so far, there are seven sago processing mills with a monthly production capacity of 200 to 500 metric tons of dried sago starch per mill.

Malaysia, he said, is among the major sago-producing countries after Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

"At present, Sarawak is the sole world exporter of sago starch, although it is not the main sago cultivation area compared to Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

"According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), Sarawak exported 35,000 metric tons of sago starch worth RM113 million, mainly to Peninsular Malaysia and Japan, accounting for 41 percent and 45 percent of the total exports in 2023," he said.

He said this in his winding-up speech for the Ministry of Food Industry, Commodities and Regional Development at the 19th Sarawak State Legislative Assembly sitting here today.

However, he said, the volume of sago starch exports has not increased in the last 10 years due to low and inconsistent raw material supply (sago stems).

Currently, the production rate is one metric ton of sago starch per hectare per year.

One of the factors contributing to the low production rate is the practice of 3T (Plant, Leave, and Harvest) by smallholders and also the type of soil where oil palm trees are planted.

"The Sarawak government has established the Sago and Nipah Development Board (SNDB) with the objective of promoting, facilitating, and advancing the sago and nipah industries as new enterprises to maximize economic returns and increase the income of smallholders.

"To formulate strategic objectives, policies, and priorities are given to the orderly development and administration of both sago and nipah in Sarawak.

"Immediate planning to be implemented by SNDB includes registering smallholder sago and nipah farmers and industry players, establishing pricing mechanisms for wood and nipah products, identifying the actual sago and nipah planting areas through Artificial Intelligence (AI), and increasing the productivity of sago and nipah planting areas.

"SNDB aims to increase sago production from smallholder areas covering 32,747 hectares, which currently only accounts for seven percent of the total output (35,000 metric tons) in 2023 worth RM113 million," he said.

Copyright © 2020 Ministry of Food Industry, Commodity And Regional Development Sarawak
Last Updated On 13 Jun 2024

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