KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) today launched the Food Security Sandbox in line with its commitment to address the challenges of Malaysia’s food security.

Minister Chang Lih Kang said the Food Security Sandbox offers access to test sites in Pendang, Kedah and Chuping, Perlis with 100-hectare of land and additional funding for startups to accelerate their innovations to commercialisation to enhance the agricultural field for better yield or practices.

The sandbox programme is open for startups in the food security sector such as agricultural technology, drones, variable rate technology, global positioning systems, geographical information systems (GIS) or the Internet of Things (IoT).

“Mosti is dedicated to advancing science, technology and innovation to address the challenges in food security. In line with this commitment, I am delighted to announce the launch of the Food Security Sandbox, which is a collaboration between the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) and the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA).

“Through this initiative, we hope to raise the national self-sufficiency level (SSL) for local food production, productivity, yield and revenue in the agriculture industry; reduce labour costs or manpower needed amidst a labour shortage in the sector; lower farm input price and overall operation cost; and (increase) environmental sustainability by reducing the ecological footprint of farming,” he said.

He said this when officiating at the opening ceremony of the I-Nation 2023 conference and the launch of Food Security Sandbox and MRANTI (Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation) Force for Good 2023 here today.

Chang said NTIS has received 266 applications related to dronetech, 4IR technologies, agritech, health and medtech, with more than RM76 million of funding assistance approved.

On the MRANTI’s Force For Good agenda, he said it will focus on four themes namely, environmental protection, impact-driven, innovation for community uplift, good governance and shaping a dynamic workforce as its effort to embrace the greener way.

“To support and contribute to the people and planet, MRANTI has pledged the commitment to be a carbon-neutral technology park by 2035. Several eco-friendly practices are underway to reduce its carbon footprint, office and park waste, water usage and greenhouse gas emissions in the next five years.

“By 2030, renewable energy sources will account for more than 35 per cent of its energy mix. As part of the MRANTI Park Masterplan, several new buildings in MRANTI Park will be developed as Green Building Index (GBI) certified, while existing buildings will be refurbished to support MRANTI’s ESG (environmental, social and governance) agenda,” he said.

Chang also envisioned Malaysia as a top destination for ESG investments in the region due to investors’ appetite that has shown an increased priority on investment opportunities addressing major environmental issues. He said in 2022, South-east Asia received US$5.2 billion (RM24.3 billion) worth of green investments.

“Among the efforts underway are to decarbonise energy generation, promote a circular economy, mitigate floods, ensure a sufficient supply of clean water, protect food security and transform mobility,” he added. — Bernama