Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah government has been urged to consider new cash crop industries such as medical marijuana and industrial hemp to boost the country’s economic development.
These industries are new but have been talked about a lot, said Datuk Daryl Leiking, a member of the association in Muyog, adding that neighboring countries such as Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia have ventured into the cultivation of these crops.
“We have to have the courage to move into these industries because countries like Singapore have moved to bottling medical marijuana while Thailand has gone into industrial and medicinal hemp crops.
“We must also look into this or we will be left behind,” Parti Deputy Chairman Warisan Sabah said at the state legislative assembly meeting on Monday (December 6).
He said Sabah had owned the abaca industry in Tawau for many years, which was an integral part of industrial hemp.
He said Sabah was suitable for these crops because its soil contains volcanic components, which help produce the best quality industrial hemp.
Earlier, during his debate speech, Laiking said that Sabah should no longer be seen as just an agricultural country, but a country capable of producing high-quality agricultural products.
“My opinion is that Sabah can never beat the Philippines and Indonesia in terms of production in terms of volume, but we can compete in terms of quality and level of products produced,” he said.
He also said that it is necessary for the government to allocate more funds to research and development in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), and thus develop it for agricultural development.
Laiking also suggested the government reconsider the nature conservation pact as it includes a carbon deal, and bring investors to Sabah instead of selling the carbon credit to foreigners.
“Blue carbon is another sector that we can seriously consider. We have an abundance of land and sea and we have things that we can share with the world but we have to bring to Sabah and have it approved through our own regulatory body,” he said.