Abang Johari (second right) receives a memento from Tiong (second left) as Wong (left) and Ling look on. – Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING (Sept 19): A laboratory to conduct research on animal feed production will soon be set up in Samarahan, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said the laboratory will be managed by i-CATS University College to carry out studies on producing animal feed from biomass.

“I had a discussion with the i-CATS University last night on strengthening our livestock and learnt that feedstock from our biomass to produce animal feed is very much cheaper than animal feed we import from overseas.

“As such, I’ve decided that we are going to have our own laboratory to produce this to be managed by the university,” he told a press conference after officiating a conference on ‘Digital Transformation via Accelerated Applications’ here today.

He said the premises of the laboratory is located in Asajaya and had previously served as an agriculture research centre.

“The centre has not been used so I will pass this to the university and let them have the laboratory there to do research together with the community.

“I have allocated 10 acres of land for them to have the laboratory where they can study on the production of animal feed as well as fertiliser to enrich our agriculture sector,” he said.

Abang Johari said he had asked i-CATS University College to monitor areas such as Gedong, Simunjan, Asajaya, Sadong Jaya, Sebuyau, Lingga and Sri Aman to carry out their research.

“We have biomass from our oil palm waste for instance. The utilisation of these waste can be turned into animal feed and fertiliser.

“I need them (i-CATS) to do it because their students can interact with the farming community.

“These students will be utilising technology and they have to use this data so that is one aspect where digitalisation as well as data are very important for us to move forward,” he said.

Earlier in his speech, Abang Johari touched on the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) in the field of agriculture.

“Agriculture can be more profound in its quality through AI because they know the right humidity, the right mixture of fertiliser to use so that the crops can grow.

“That is why it is very important that we must have certain knowledge and awareness of new technology that keeps on changing because of AI,” he said.

He said the world today has become data-driven in managing or finding solutions to problems be it from the fields of energy, economic or social.

“In Sarawak, we started to create awareness on the importance of digital economy since 2017 and I believe we have achieved success in our Sarawak Digital Economy Strategy 2018-2022 in terms of human resources and talent development.

“The next step is on data and data needs power so we have to make sure we have enough power, and we shall go for green energy that will propel industries throughout Sarawak or the whole region for that matter,” he said.

Also present were Deputy Public Health, Housing and Local Government Minister Michael Tiang, GRM Digital Solution executive director Sylvester Wong and his partners Datuk Tiong Thai King and Dato Stanley Ling.