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The Official Website of
Department Of Agriculture Sarawak



Overall Objective:

Identifying, developing and promoting the application of technological packages to boost the productivity and efficiency of both the smallholder and corporate sectors involved in the production of crops and value added food products.

In the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), crop research programmes were structured so that the strategies and projects were relevant towards modernization, commercialisation and income maximisation of the farming community.


1. Crop Research:

a)      Rice Research

  • Objective of the research is to generate sustainable production packages both for the smallholders and the commercial sectors .
  • 2,011 accessions are maintained – local collections, imported collections from MARDI and IRRI.
Diversity in the rice germplasm
  • Focus:
    (a) Commercial scale
          - varietal & fertilizer evaluation for large scale rice cultivation in Sarawak
          - hybrid rice evaluation in collaboration with Agritech (S)

    (b) Smallholders
          - varietal & fertilizer evaluation on farmers fields mainly in Serikin, Sekuduk & Lundu
          - upland rice research in collaboration with MARDI
          - Seed certification Schemes for authenticity & purity to register for IPR such as GI 
            for branding & niche marketing of exotic rice namely Bario, Biris & Bajong
          - organic rice production

b)      Field Crops Research

  • Objective of the research is to identify crops with potential for commercialization.
  • Crops evaluated are tapioca, maize, sweet corn, sweet potato, taro (Colocasia sp.), yam (Dioscorea sp.) and Job’s tears (Coix lacryma-jobi).

Sweet Potato, var. Cina


Taro, var. Thailand

Job’s tears

C)      Fruit Crops Research

  • Objective of the research is to develop technologies suitable for adoption of large-scale commercial production
  • Research into common local fruits such as honey orange, guava, wax apple, pomelo, rambutan, nangka, cempedak and rock melon

Honey orange


  • At ARC, 1,546 accessions of selected fruit species have been planted

Dabai, cv. Lulong 

Durian DS 68

  • Research on indigenous fruits focuses on collection, selection and vegetative propagation techniques. Among the indigenous fruits are dabai, durian kuning and nyekak, isau and embawang.
  • About 75 species of indigenous fruits are maintained at Sg. Sebiew and Layar Integrated Agriculture Station
  • R&D on papaya with focus on breeding and selection of elite varieties for commercial production

Durian Nyekak DK8 

Embawang MP1

d)    Vegetable Crops Research

  • Objective of the research is to develop quality planting materials and generate technologies for sustainable commercial production
  • Focus:

- Import substitution vegetables research is to identify varieties adaptable to tropical conditions e.g. brassicas, tomato, chilli, cabbages, sweet pepper

- Common vegetables research is to develop, improve and promote alternative systems of producing pesticide-safe vegetables

- Indigenous Vegetables Research is to develop cultural practices e.g. paku midin, terung asam

‘String Long’ long bean        

Sibu Caixin – bred by ARC

Paku midin

Terung asam

e)      Organic farming R&D - Towards environmentally friendly, profitable and sustainable production of safe & quality food. The objectives are to:

       -develop organic farming package technologies for the culture of major crops

       -develop a research farm at ARC for demonstration and technology generation

       -provide a centre for training staff and farmers

       -serve as a resource centre for organic  crops seeds and planting materials

Training on composting

f)      Pepper & Other Spices Research

     (a)   Pepper research

  • DOA Sarawak is leading in & has been carrying out pepper upstream R&D since 1955.
  • Malaysian Pepper Board, formed on 1 Jan. 2007, was given the task to develop all aspects of the pepper industry, including the upstream, mid-stream & downstream sectors.
  • While MPB is building up facilities and capacities (including recruiting personnel), the Board will have collaborative projects with ARC and other research institutions.
  • ARC is still the care-taker of resources, including germplasm materials, until MPB is ready to take over.
  • ARC maintains a database and reference collection for the National Plant Variety Protection Office under the Protection of New Plant Varieties Act 2004
  • Currently recommended cultivars are Kuching, Semongok Emas and Semongok Aman

     (b)    Other spices: Vanilla, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg

     (c)   Other


g)   Herbs & Medicinal Plant Research

  • Collection, selection and maintenance of herbs and medicinal plants
  • 150 species are being maintained
  • R&D on herbal and medicinal plants (including kacangma, Leonurus sibiricus) with potential for commercialization
  • Kacangma production, processing and product development
  • Propagation studies of 3 indigenous herbs:
        > Emas Cotek (Ficus deltoidea) Sarawak accession

        > Daun Bicin (Pycnarrhena borneensis)

        > Bungkang (Syzygium polyanthum)

Kacang ma plants

Kacangma products

Emas cotek


h)      Tree Crop Research

  • Evaluation of germplasm, varieties and hybrids to select accessions suitable for local conditions
  • Crops include coconut & other palms

Matag Coconut

Peach palm

Peat & Marginal Soil Utilisation Research

  • Screening the performance of crops on drained peat
  • Nutritional requirement of promising crops
  • Development of production package for high-value crops

Post-Harvest Technology Research


  • Optimize the quality and suitability of produce for market requirements
  • Improve application and efficiency of post-harvest system for fruit
  • Product development and process optimization
  • Assure food security and safety, and improve trade and market access

Frozen Dabai

Hot water treatment of papaya

k)      Agro-biotechnology Research


  • To conduct research on DNA marker technology for breeding and germplasm management
  • To undertake R&D on cell culture technology for production of useful plant metabolites & beneficial microorganisms
  • To use plant micro-propagation techniques for mass- propagating elite indigenous plants
  • To develop and use molecular and serological methods for fast and precise disease diagnosis

                      > more efficient disease prevention and control

                      > more efficient plant quarantine enforcement

DNA Extraction

Analysing DNA gel

1)      Beekeeping Research

  • To adopt and adapt modern beekeeping practices
  • Selection for superior colonies

2. Supporting Services

a)      Crop protection

1. Plant pathology

    > The main objective of the Plant Pathology Section is to carry out research on disease management of agricultural crops, with the aim to reduce crop losses in Sarawak. The research covers the etiology, epidemiology and management of the disease.  Research is also carried out to develop disease diagnostic protocols. The Section also provides diagnostic and advisory services to growers, agricultural extension staff, and research agronomists and botanists in the Agricultural Research Branch.

     > The Plant Pathology Section has a research and diagnostic laboratory, plant houses and field experimental plots.  Experiments are carried out in the laboratory, plant houses and farmers’ land.  The Plant Pathology Laboratory is well equipped with facilities for both conventional and molecular research and diagnosis.  The scope of the research and diagnostic work covers pepper, rice, fruits, vegetables, field crops, tree crops and palms.

      - Focus:

  • Introduction of new diagnostic techniques
  • Development of disease control measures to reduce crop losses
  • Provision of diagnostic & advisory services
  • Contribution to crop technology packages
  • Conducting training course/workshop & seminar

     - Citrus greening disease

  • Rehabilitation of citrus greening disease-infected citrus orchards
  • Disease diagnosis of citrus trees
  • Disease detection in insect vectors

     - Management of dragon fruit disease

  • Currently under study

     - Ginger diseases

  • Diagnosis of latent infection of the bacterium, Ralstonia solanacearum in ginger seed material
  • Studies of the host range of R. solanacearum and its pathovars for disease management through crop rotation

     - Biological control agents (BCAs)

     - Disease diagnostic & advisory services


2. Entomology

    > The Entomology Section was established when the Centre was born to provide identification, advisory and protection services on crops as well as to carry out economic entomology research. The Entomology Laboratory has an Insect Reference Collection of more than 10,000 specimens.

     > Focus:

     - Pest management

  • Biological control of brontispa beetles on coconut
  • Evaluation of botanical pesticides, pheromones & beneficial insects

     - Crop health services

     - Services carried out are:

  • Survey for crop pests
  • Survey for distribution & infestation levels of brontispa beetles on coconut
  • Survey for distribution & infestation levels of padi pests
  • Survey for fruit fly species
  • Monitoring of invasive species
  • Pest identification
  • Advisory services

b)      Analytical Services (Chemistry & Pesticide Residue Analysis)


  • To provide efficient & accredited analytical services
  • To upgrade testing facilities whenever possible financially
  • To upgrade old methods or adopt/develop new methods for nutrient & heavy metal analysis in soil, plant, fertilizer, & food samples
  • To improve existing methods & develop new methods for pesticide residues analysis in crops, soil & water
  • To carry out research on pesticide fate in crops & environment
  • To carry out research on nutrient fate in the environment

Main agricultural laboratories in Sarawak that provide analytical services (soil, plant, fertilizer, food & water)

  • nutritional
  • heavy metal
  • pesticide residue
Accredited under MS ISO/IEC 17025:2005 & MS ISO 9001:2008

      > Plant and Soil Analysis Services

  • The chemistry laboratory provides analytical services on soil, plant, fertiliser and other agricultural materials.  It is equipped with modern facilities and equipments and has the capacity to handle 10,000 samples annually. The laboratory has been accredited by SAMM (Skim Akreditasi Makmal Malaysia) under the ISO/IEC 17025 Laboratory Accreditation Scheme since 13 August 1999. 
  • The laboratory provides analytical services support for research on crops and soils in the State. In addition, the Laboratory also checks the quality of Agricultural Schemes Inputs and the contents of heavy metals of inputs and products of farms under the SALM (Skim Amalan baik Ladang Malaysia).

General view of the laboratory

     >  Pesticide Residue Laboratory Services

  • This laboratory was established in 1990 under a foreign aid programme to provide data on pesticide residues present in agricultural produce, particularly vegetables and fruits, and soils.  The laboratory is gazetted under the Food Act 1983 to carry out analysis on food samples for the Ministry of Health.
  • The laboratory monitors current status of pesticide residue in vegetables by random sampling and carrying out analyses for samples from vegetable farms throughout Sarawak. Under the Departmental Vegetable Certification Scheme (VCS), issues and renewals of VCS Certificates require the checking and the monitoring of pesticide residues of vegetables of the applying or certified farms by this laboratory.

Identifying pesticide on a computer


c)      Biometry and ICT

  • Provides advisory service on experimental designs & to support statistical analysis
  • Development of IT facilities to improve office automation, information access, sharing & transfer through networking
  • The section is fully involved in the development of Expert Systems for crops. The Expert System for pepper crop protection on pests, diseases and nutritional disorders was released in 2003 as X-Crop on pepper. Similar Expert Systems are being developed for fruits such as melon, citrus, pineapple and rambutan

XCROP II Black pepper, the Expert System for Pepper Crop Protection

d)      Transfer of Technology 

  • Research officers are stationed strategically throughout the State to assist in the transfer of technologies to farmers. They are involved in project planning, on-farm field verification trials of advanced technology and crops/crop varieties, demonstration plots, training of farmers as well as participating in joint-trials with research officers of the Headquarters. 

  • The main trust of this Section is to foster a closer linkage between research and extension in order to facilitate speedy transfer of new crops and technologies to the farming communities. 

>   Regional Research Centres for technology dessimination:

  • Regional research & On-farm demonstration
  • Problem-solving (crop health & disorders)
  • Source bush for quality planting materials
  • Training of extension staff & selected entrepreneurs
  • Resource centres

>   Other sources of information :

  • Open Day, Farmers’ Day (HPPN)
  • Conference, seminars, dialogues, technology talks
  • Publications (e.g. Farmers’ Bulletin, Leaflets),
  • Radio programmes
  • Support Business Development Unit at HQ


e)     Quality Assurance Programmes (SALM,  SOM)

Role of ARC Semongok:

  • Chemistry laboratories carry out analysis for heavy metals
  • Pesticide residue laboratory carries out analysis on pesticide residues
  • Research officers carry out farm auditing & advisory work
  • Took over secretariat function from Crops Division effective 2010