SIBU: There are bright prospects in the agriculture industry and the young generation should not hesitate to take the plunge.
Sekolah Menengah (SM) Wong Nai Siong Management Board chairman Temenggung Datuk Vincent Lau Lee Ming said the government has implemented new policies and injected more funds to ensure strong support for the development of the agricultural industry.
“With the multiple benefits of government policies and the injection of funds, the agricultural sector in the country has achieved encouraging development in recent years.
“Therefore, this industry has bright prospects for those who want to venture into it,” he said when officiating at the educational talk on ‘The Future of the Agricultural Industry is Not a Dream’ at SM Wong Nai Siong today in conjunction with the school’s 55th anniversary celebration.
Lau said the agriculture industry has been recognised as one of the most important economic sectors in the country.
“Although traditional agriculture is a resource and labour-intensive industry, development of science and technology, especially the rapid development of biotechnology, information technology, and other logistics have brought great benefits to investors in the industry,” he said.
Lau said that in the 1980s the country’s emphasis on industrialisation dominated by the manufacturing sector reduced the speed of agricultural development.
“During the 10 years from 1980 to 1990, Malaysia’s average annual economic growth was 6.4 per cent while the average agricultural economic growth was only 3.6 per cent.
“The Malaysian economy grew at an average annual rate of 8 per cent during the first five years of the 1990s but unfortunately, the agriculture industry barely grew.
“However, after the year 2000, the added value of agriculture stabilised at approximately 10 per cent of the gross domestic product which contributed 7.2 per cent of the GDP in 2021,” he said.
Lau also said that agriculture sector also generates foreign exchange with a total export of 7.9 per cent, creating employment opportunities for 10.5 per cent of the total working population and also ensuring sufficient food supply for the people.
“Nevertheless, it is not easy because the agriculture sector also faces many challenges and difficulties such as uncertainty about farmland ownership, labour shortages leading to an increase in abandoned agricultural land, and low levels of technology adoption.
“Other challenges include excessive dependence on foreign labour, rising production and input costs, and low productivity and quality of agricultural produce,” he explained.
Lau thanked the speaker who is also the school’s former student Datuk Lawrence Ting Siew Haw for his generosity in donating 10 desktop computers and five laptops worth RM28,000 to his alma mater.
“It is hoped that the students will be able to know the prospects and direction of agricultural development in this country through the talk delivered by Ting,” he said.
Also present was principal Lu Yew Hiuung.
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