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Antares Ventures Sdn. Bhd. and WWF-Malaysia Announce Groundbreaking Memorandum of Agreement

~ Promoting the Sustainability of Adan Rice Production through Best Management Practices 
and Chemical-Free Farming by Local Communities ~

16 November 2023, Kuching: Antares Ventures Sdn. Bhd. and World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia) proudly announced the establishment of a strategic partnership through the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) yesterday. This collaboration represents a significant stride towards promoting sustainable practices within the rice industry in Sarawak.

The MoA outlines the mutual commitment of both parties to advocate for the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), a chemical-free method in rice production, in collaboration with the communities of Ba’ Kelalan, Lawas. Through the integration of sustainable farming techniques, the partnership aims to contribute to the conservation of natural resources while enhancing the livelihoods of the Ba’ Kelalan communities. It also aims to create awareness about the importance of traditional rice varieties.

“For many years, WWF-Malaysia has been promoting sustainable rice farming using the SRI method, which has seen improved yields of almost two fold. The number of farmers switching to SRI technique is now more than 50, from a humble beginning of just two back in 2017.  We hope that their rice can now be better marketed not only within Sarawak, but also elsewhere. This can then incentivise the people of Ba’ Kelalan to continue practising sustainable farming that will eventually help conserve the environment, especially their water sources,” said WWF-Malaysia Associate Director of Sarawak and Conservation Science, Dr Jason Hon. 

Antares Ventures shared the sentiment, expressing excitement for the collaboration's potential impact on improving the sustainability of rice cultivation and distribution. "We are thrilled to be part of this historic moment as we embark on the journey of exporting Sarawak's specialty rice. This endeavour not only showcases the unique flavours of our indigenous rice but also emphasises our dedication to sustainable agricultural practices," Antares Ventures, Brendan Kon, Managing Director said.

This partnership represents a collaborative effort to enhance awareness regarding the significance of sustainable agriculture; and serves as an example to  encourage other industry stakeholders to prioritise environmental conservation in their operations. Notably, one ringgit Malaysia from every pack sale of Antares heirloom rice will be contributed to the conservation efforts led by WWF Malaysia.

Dr Hon (right) and Kon (from left) at the MoA exchange ceremony in the presence of Kenny Lau, Sarawak Trade  and Tourism Co. Pte. Ltd. Finance Corporate Affairs, Trade and Investment Manager, and Sarawak Agro Fund Manager Vincent Mambu, held at Antares Ventures’ milling and packaging facility yesterday.

Kon (left) and Dr Hon (right), delivering speeches at the MoA exchange ceremony yesterday.

Dr Hon presenting a souvenir to Kon.

Invited guests posed for a group photo after the MoA exchange.

Environmentally friendly packaging for three varieties of Adan rice grown in Ba’ Kelalan highlands in Sarawak using the SRI method.

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