KUALA LUMPUR May 30 — Malaysian farmers can get better yields and increase their income if they go high-tech, Tun Daim Zainuddin said.
The former finance minister, an advocate of modernising agriculture, urged farmers to learn the best techniques from their peers outside the country to be competitive.
He pointed to farmers in the Netherlands as being the “best in the world” currently.
“On technology, I have said it many times. I said we have to go back to modern agriculture.
“Now we use new technology. The best of course comes from Holland. When it comes to agriculture, the best in the world is Holland. They are small, but they are the biggest exporter of food,” he said in an interview with Astro Awani last night.
Closer to home, the adviser to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysians could learn modern farming from Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and China.
“China uses their 5G technology,” Daim added.
He acknowledged that land scarcity is a huge hurdle which needs to be addressed, adding that he has already written to all the state government to allocate some land for modern farming initiatives.
“We can definitely do it, it’s just that we have to encourage farmers to expand, but the problem is land,” he said.
He said the federal government was limited in what it could do as land is a state matter.
However, he said he has written letters to all the state governments to set aside land for farming, and that only Melaka and Kelantan have yet to reply.
Daim said that Perak and Terengganu are prepared to allocate 5,000 acres of land, respectively, with other states agreeing to give 2,000 acres.
He said the initiative will see university graduates and those who are technologically savvy, acting as mentors to current farmers and teaching them to improve their farming techniques.
“We hope that with this way, we can produce modern farmers,” he added.