KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 — The government and private sector must join hands to ensure that food security in the country is properly addressed by establishing a well-managed centralised pool of funds by an agency before it is dispersed to various agencies responsible for tackling undernourishment and malnourishment.
Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific, Growth Advisory — Chemicals, Materials and Nutrition director Nikhil Vallabhan said joint public and private efforts are crucial to resolving food security and nourishment issues as close to one million population in Malaysia are undernourished, and most of Southeast Asia’s population relies on unhealthy and junk food.
He said the parties involved must innovate to establish new ways of producing other crops with lands largely used for paddy farming and oil palm planting.
“But if we could reduce the land usage for rice, we could have more local production for other crops.
“Besides, by having centralised funds, we can monitor the output and where the money is spent, and measure productivity at the end of the day,” he told reporters after speaking as a guest speaker on ‘Food Security Trends in Asean’ at the Bursa-HLIB Stratum Focus Series XV (15th) here, today.
Nikhil added that investments from the public and private sectors in technology and innovation would also support better yield or production.
He said the government could provide better incentives or subsidies for the right technology companies that provide high technology and training for farmers instead of providing subsidies for the farmers themselves.
“A lot of people now have smartphones. This is where the companies or community leaders can help farmers make technology a habit with their farmers.
“For example, in Chiangmai and Chiangrai in Thailand, community leaders are incentivised to check on their farmers to determine if their crops are well managed on time with water, fertilisers and so on using smartphones.
“Once this is being done with one to two cycles, it becomes a habit. And I think Malaysia sits better globally to implement such initiative,” he added. — Bernama