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Watch on food movement
Published on: Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: The State Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry is watching the distribution of food products into the State, said its minister Junz Wong.

He explained that they have always been strict in on poultry and fruits entering the State to avoid spread of bird flu disease when it was first detected in Tuaran on August 3.

However, he could not deny that illegal smuggling activities are still common, thus leading to the possibilities of disease outbreak.

"We found several 'fighting cocks' used for gambling in a farm while we were conducting operations and suspected that since a lot of farm employees are from foreign countries, this could be one of the reasons for the outbreak and we are currently investigating as smuggled poultry or roosters for illegal activities could be the source," he said after launching the 'Development of Food Industry in Sabah' seminar at one of the leading hotels, here, Tuesday.

Wong said that it is up to clients outside the State to export poultry from Sabah, including popular chicken feet as well as fertilisers.

"So far only Brunei and Sarawak have opted not to import any poultry from Sabah but our chickens are safe to eat as there are no reports of humans infected yet.

Earlier, on the seminar, Wong said the State Government is interested in promoting the State's local fruits by exporting to foreign countries which is in line with the theme of the seminar, "The Next Golden Crop for Sabah".

He explained that cocoa and oil palm were the State's golden crops but popular tropical fruits like rambutan, starfruit, pamelo, jackfruit, papaya, mangosteen, durian, pineapples and avocados could be the future in exports.

Also present at the programme were Sabah Agriculture Department Director Idrus Shafie, State Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry Permanent Secretary Zulkifli K Harrith, and Sabah Society of Agriculture Scientists President Dr Jenny Lee. - Locksley Ng


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