KOTA KINABALU (7 APRIL): The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) has allocated about RM135 million to develop the agrofood sector in Sabah this year, says its minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee.
He said the allocation was for the departments and agencies under the ministry including the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), Sabah in an effort to spur growth of the agrofood industry based on the local food sources in the state.
For Sarawak, Ronald said the ministry had allocated about RM150 million so that the state could also develop the sector’s potential towards achieving the objectives outlined in the National Agrofood Policy 2.0.
“We have talked a lot about the agrofood sector as we want to ensure the country’s food supply security and this is contained in the National Agrofood Policy 2.0, to see the sector contributing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and its economic development.
“It is also towards ensuring that the agrofood sector will move in tandem with Industrial Revolution 4.0 through the use of modern technology, lower production costs and less labour dependency, as well as profit maximisation,” he told reporters after a working visit to Sabah MARDI, here, on Thursday.
Ronald said Sabah MARDI played an important role in promoting new agriculture technology, entrepreneurial development and research in agriculture and the food industry, besides providing food sample analysis services for the purpose of labelling the products of local entrepreneurs.
He said it had also trained about 12,000 people in Sabah who were involved in agrofood entrepreneurship including the young generation since its establishment in 1995, besides channelling various forms of assistance to help the entrepreneurs develop their businesses.
During his working visit, Ronald also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between MARDI and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) to step up research and development (R&D) projects through smart agriculture and development of the imaging monitoring system application for crop growth performance.
The MoU was signed by MARDI director-general, Datuk Dr Mohamad Zabawi Abdul Ghani and UMS vice-chancellor, Prof Datuk Dr Taufik Yap Yun Hin.
Ronald said his ministry welcomed the strategic cooperation between MARDI and UMS as it could generate more research outcomes, especially in developing the agrofood sector in Sabah.
Through this MoU, MARDI and UMS will also boost the fundamental scientific aspects and applications in R&D activities towards producing industry-oriented quality technology and the technology transfer to UMS is also aimed at increasing the involvement of R&D in the learning process.
The MoU will also see an increase in quality R&D in the field of agriculture and more high-impact outcomes through scientific data generation.-Bernama