SEGAMAT, June 30 — The election of China’s deputy agricultural minister Dr Qu Dongyu as Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has been seen as a very apt and relevant move in Malaysia’s bid to expand the cooperation in agricultural marketing with China.

Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub said during the FAO Conference in Rome last week, he had voiced out Malaysia’s aspiration on the matter and the hope that the powerful country would be able to help boosting the economy of smaller countries.

He said China needs to play a more important role to help smaller countries like Malaysia to penetrate new markets for agricultural produce apart from the African countries and small islands which were depending on food supply.

“This is not because we agreed with the trade war, but the government is taking the opportunity and making optimal use of China’s huge markets, and we have asked him (Qu) to open the doors wider for Malaysia.

“Various Malaysian food products have penetrated the market in China, such as Musang King Durian, pineapple, birdnest, and to be followed by jackfruit,” he told reporters after going on a walkabout and launching the mixed farming system at the Agro Mix Farm here today.

It was reported that Qu, a trained biologist, had become the first head of the agency from China to succeed Brazil’s José Graziano da Silva as the next FAO director-general. He was elected on 23 June during a biennial meeting of the FAO Conference. His four-year term will start on Aug 1.

Meanwhile, Salahuddin said the concept of mixed farming would be expanded nationwide to encourage local farmers to optimise the use of land and to reduce dependency on a single crop.

“We will introduce the concept to the farmers. There are a lot of cash crops that they can choose to cultivate with the help the relevant agencies that can provide expertise and guidance to improve their productivity,” he said. — Bernama