SERDANG, Dec 4 — Malaysia’s agriculture industry must switch to intensive farming which uses advanced technology and multi-cropping to assure food security, said Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The Prime Minister said switching from conventional farming to high technology farming was badly needed to meet food supply needs in line with the increase in the country’s population which was expected to exceed 50 million people in 2050.
“The value of food imports now stands at RM18 billion and the amount will increase from year to year. As such, food production must be increased to assure self-sufficiency for the coming generations,” he said.
Najib said this when opening the Malaysia Agriculture, Horticulture & Agrotourism (Maha) Exposition 2016, which entered its fourth day today, at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) here.
Also present were Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek and Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) chairman Tan Sri Badruddin Amiruldin.
Najib said as the long-term approach, the intensive farming should be explored and championed by the younger generation so that the agricultural industry could move forward in line with the development and the increasing number of the Malaysian population in the country.
He said Maha was now viewed not only as a domestic tourism product for those involved in the agricultural sector, but more importantly, it involved the entire chain of food supply in the country, such as the wholesalers as well as hypermarket and supermarket operators.
The prime minister said apart from its focus on the industry, Maha had also become an educational platform for the young children on agriculture sector and the diversity of crops and national food which was deemed as a very important element to create awareness on the importance of the industry.
“Maha is a symbol or a manifestation of the government’s commitment in upholding the sector, thus ensuring the continuity of food supply in the country.
“Therefore, the younger generation must get involved in the modern agricultural industry as it is not only meant for the older people,” said Najib, adding that Maha had attracted 700,000 visitors since it opened its door on December 1.
Najib arrived at the Maha’s main hall lobby at 4.20pm before taking a tram with Ahmad Shabery to tour the exhibition sites.
Najib also visited the fruits section operated by Fama, known as ‘Castle of Fruits’, which housed various orchids, saplings, fertilisers, flowers and fruits.
He was also introduced with the soursop, which is the theme fruit at Maha 2016 and paid a visit at the corn stalls, where three million corns would be sold by the cobs during the 11-day event.
In addition, the prime minister also spent time at the biggest ‘bingka’ (cake) exhibition made of 1,400 corn on 120 trays, which also made into the Malaysia Book of Records.
According to Fama, the proceeds from the selling of the ‘bingka’ at RM30 per tray would be channelled to the Rohingya relief fund.
Najib also stopped at Nafas [email protected] — a contemporary accommodation that combined containers, culverts and tents — before ending his visit by attending the ‘Rhythm Of The Farmers’ concert at D’Lereng, a special corner set up for stage performance by local artistes. — Bernama