KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 — The Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute’s commercial arm, Mardi Corporation Sdn Bhd (MardiCorp), recently signed two deals with two separate companies to build stronger links between the agriculture sector and tourism.
One of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed is with Ancom Crop Care Sdn Bhd (ACC) that aims to promote good agricultural practices and boost the yields of paddy farmers.
The other MoU is with travel tech firm BoxCube Limited to promote agrotourism packages.
Both deals were signed on November 11.
“We are looking at both MoU from a bigger perspective. While ACC works with us to provide better agricultural practices along with a very effective biostimulant that ultimately improves agricultural crop yields, BoxCube could also promote these farms and plantations for tourism.
“It ties in together by ultimately helping farmers to gain better yields and extra revenue while promoting the country’s cultural and natural beauty,” MardiCorp Chief Executive Officer Zaidi Shahrim told Malay Mail in an interview at MardiCorp’s headquarters yesterday.
Zaidi expressed confidence that both MoUs will contribute to a better ecosystem for those in the agriculture sector.
Improving crop yields
MardiCorp said it plans to use ACC’s proprietary biostimulant dubbed Boom Flower which it has identified as an effective means to boost agricultural yield, especially on paddy.
This is after research and observation conducted by MardiCorp’s scientist on the effect of Boom Flower on paddy for four plating seasons, said Zaidi.
“We have seen significant gains from the utilisation of the ACC’s biostimulant on paddy crops. On average paddy usually yields five tonnes per hectare but paddy field that uses Boom Flower sees yields of between eight to 10 tonnes per hectare,” he said.
ACC Chief Executive Officer Anthony Tan said private-owned paddy fields that have been utilising its Boom Flower biostimulant since 2009 have seen significant increases in harvest, some as much as 12 tonnes per hectare.
The biostimulant is also widely used in other countries such as Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia and India, and have improved their paddy yields by 15 per cent, said Tan.
Apart from providing Boom Flower, Tan said ACC will also teach farmers under the purview of MardiCorp to raise their current technologies to be on par with the current world standards.
“We, along with MardiCorp will also provide training, guidance and supervision on good agricultural practices for these farmers.
“It is not simply the matter of just providing them with Boom Flower but we are helping them to use it accordingly along with current agriculture best practices,” he said.
Zaidi said higher yields are crucial to improve Malaysia’s self-sufficiency in producing rice for food security in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the sector holds much potential to contribute to the economy but suffers from outdated practices.
“That is why we want to train them along with ACC. We need to show farmers that there are much more effective ways to receive greater results compared to what they are used to,” he said.
Tan concurred with Zaidi, saying the company wishes for Malaysia’s self-sufficiency in rice instead of relying on imports.
“This is ultimately what we want to help MardiCorp achieve while providing farmers with better tools and practices for them to gain better crops yields,” he said.
Boom Flowers is expected to be deployed in paddy plantations under the purview of Muda Agricultural Development Authority (MADA) and Kemubu Agricultural Development Authority (KADA), said Tan.
Zaidi said MardiCorp is expanding the agrotourism market and counting on BoxCube to promote packages to travellers from China.
The idea is to promote farms, plantations or other agriculture locations as viable tourist destinations that provide a unique travel experience, said Zaidi.
“Mardi Corp has a lot to offer in terms of agrotourism, from durian farms, to plantations by the sea or even up high in the cold mountains of Cameron Highlands. Travellers nowadays are looking for a unique experience and we know we can offer them with a variety of options,” he said.
BoxCube chairman Datuk Emil Rinaldi Syaiful expressed excitement to partner MardiCorp in boosting Malaysia’s budding agrotourism.
“We are proud to be given a chance to work together with Mardi and share our expertise and resources to explore the opportunities by promoting the agritourism sector,” he said, adding that BoxCube already has several platforms that cater to specific markets.
He said some of them include, health, education, and weddings.