KOTA KINABALU: The Government strives to boost Sabah’s Self-Sufficiency Level (SSL)  annually through various modernisation initiatives by enhancing the productivity and  quality of agricultural products. 

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor said the Government is committed  to empowering the development of the agricultural sector involving four sub-sectors – Crops, Livestock, Fisheries/Aquaculture and Rubber Commodities. 

“The agriculture sector is the largest state economic growth sector in the Hala Tuju Sabah  Maju Jaya (SMJ) Roadmap,” he said at the ground-breaking ceremony of Menara Desa  (Desa Corporate Building) in Kolombong near here on Thursday. 

Hajiji’s speech was delivered by Local Government and Housing Minister cum Finance  Minister II, Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun. 

In this respect, Hajiji hoped Desa Group will continue to carry out its responsibilities as a  Government-linked corporate entity in assisting the Government to provide employment  opportunities and equipping Sabahans with the necessary expertise in ensuring the  development of the agro food-based and the agricultural industries in Sabah.  

As the shareholder of Desa Group, the State Government will provide the necessary  support in facilitating your development progress towards Desa’s growth and success in  the agro food-based businesses, he said. 

“We have observed that the Desa Group has achieved steady growth and strong financial  standing over the past 10 years through the implementation of various businesses  turnaround and financial restructuring strategies that were largely funded by internally  generated cash reserve. This has put the Desa Group in good stead to move forward and  grow progressively. 

“Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic in the past two years, the Desa  Group has not wavered in forging ahead to modernise and expand its core food  businesses of poultry and livestock for long term sustainable business and positive returns  to shareholder’s investment.  

“Desa is now in a position to increase its net worth and profitability,” he said.

“With Desa being one of the major producers of chicken and fresh milk in the State and  having core businesses largely in the agro-food sector, it is my sincere hope that you will  continue to boost productivity and produce premium quality products, expand production  capacity, invest in modern farming technology to support the intensive and sustainable  poultry and livestock agriculture in the State,” he said. 

The Chief Minister was confident that Desa will be able to meet the fast growing demand  for fresh, hygienic and Halal food products at affordable prices for the benefit of the  consumers in Sabah and yet generate a reasonable return on its investment to sustain its  business. 

He also congratulated Desa Group for becoming the first GLC in Sabah to have an  Artificial Intelligence (AI) smart building when the Menara Desa is completed.