NZ to assist Sarawak 
Sarawak Tribune - Saturday, 07 June 2003 

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by Kevin Tan and Violet Tay

Kiwis to share experience in food-processing industry

KUCHING - New Zealand has expressed its willingness to help Sarawak develop its large-scale commercial food-based industry, particularly for export.

Its Minister for Trade Negotiations, Agriculture and Forestry, Jim Sutton said New Zealand, which was a major food exporter, had considerable expertise in the food processing industry.

"That is a particular area where we have built up expertise which could be applied in joint ventures with Sarawak.

"You can produce tonnes of food that we taxi t such as tropical fruits and so on and we can use the same distribution networks to get better value," he told Tribune after opening the New Zealand Centre here yesterday.

As New Zealand exports almost 90 percent of its food produce to various parts of the world, Sutton, who is also the Biosecurity and Rural Affairs Minister, pointed out that the country had at the same time developed the relevant technology in food processing.

“We have a very effective system for the processing, storage, transportation distribution and marketing of food products to ensure that the food products are in excellent conditions when they arrive at the points of sale all around the world,” he said.

The minister also expressed his interest to co-operate with Sarawak in developing the “halal” food industry in Sarawak.

New Zealand, he said, owned numerous processing plants of “halal” certified meat.

"We also produce a lot of "halal” food. We have Islamic workers who slaughter the animals and recite the prayers," said Sutton.

Earlier, at the opening ceremony of the New Zealand Centre here, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr George Chan said the Centre would further improve the collaboration between Sarawak and New Zealand and contribute towards enhancing the bilateral trade between Malaysia and New Zealand.

"Malaysia and New Zealand have enjoyed a history of close and friendly links with each other dating back to education­related Colombo Plan," he said.

For many years, New Zealand had not been well represented in Sarawak particularly in the field of education and with the opening of the NZ Centre here, it would become the centre in Sarawak pertaining to education and business with New Zealand, he said.

The Centre would be the official representative here of all New Zealand universities and a number of reputable high schools, Dr Chan said.

"Malaysia is an important source of overseas tertiary students, with an estimated 1086 fee paying students enrolled to study there in 2002, contributing about NZ$38 million to there economy.

"An estimated 13,000 Malaysians have been educated in New Zealand and many now occupy senior positions in business, the professions and government administration," Dr Chan added.

Earlier, the managing director of the Centre Rodger Chan said the Centre was set up to focus on matters relating to education, trade and investment between Sarawak and New Zealand.

"We are working on establishing and assisting business and trade ventures between Sarawak and New Zealand," he said.

The Centre would be promoting New Zealand to leading Sarawak business people as a highly attractive destination for investment, he said.

"Likewise, we hope New Zealand companies and organisations will use the Centre as their offshore marketing base amongst potential customers in Sarawak," he added.