BY NATASHA JEE & ALVERDTEKOSTER ANYAP
KUCHING: The Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Ministry (Medac) wants more small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) in Sarawak to migrate to modern farming to enable the country to increase its food production not only for local consumption but also export.
Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said this is in order to help the country to reduce its dependency on importing food items.
“Currently, Malaysia is still importing RM50 billion worth of food items from major food producing countries.
“There is no problem in importing, but at the same time we must make sure we can also export food items worth RM50 billion so there is a balance,” he said.
He said this when officiating at the ‘Bicara Ilmu: Niaga Tani Pintar Jana Income Steady’ programme organised by Cooperative Institute of Malaysia (CIM) at Imperial Hotel today (Oct 17).
According to Wan Junaidi, who is also the Santubong MP, only 11 percent of SMEs in the country are involved in agriculture, with the remaining involved in service sectors.
“Modern farming is far different from traditional farming; it requires the usage of Internet of Things (IoT) and less physical energy.
“At the same time through modern farming, it is able to increase food production and would be able to contribute to our food security as well,” he pointed out.
He noted the initiatives of the Sarawak government in promoting modern farming, which also prompted his ministry to increase the involvement of SMEs in agriculture as well.
Meanwhile, the event also saw 50 recipients receiving donations from CIM as part of the institute’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme.
Also present were CIM Sarawak director Siti Maimunah Jerni, Malaysia Cooperation Commission (SKM) Sarawak director Meor Mohammad Shariffudin Meor Yahya and Bank Rakyat business banking head officer Mohamad Shiblie Abang Sapuan.