Tuesday, July 14

Ministry eyes Agro-culinary tourism as major draw

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Zainal Azman (second right) launches the 2020 National Agro Tourism Seminar. — Bernama photo

LANGKAWI: Agro and culinary tourism can be an attraction in promoting Malaysia as an international food destination, says secretary-general of the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Datuk Zainal Azman Abu Seman.

He said his ministry was currently focusing on boosting the sector including its strategies, logistics and value chain as well as identifying specific methods that could help the industry players involved.

“In agro-culinary tourism, 38 varieties of Malaysian dishes have been identified including nasi lemak, satay, roti canai as well as teh tarik.

“To expand agro-culinary, it means we will be using ingredients from local sources such as herbs including lemongrass and spices like black pepper, and may involve other industries such as the livestock industry,” he told a press conference after opening the 2020 National Agro Tourism Seminar here yesterday. Zainal Azman said special programmes to boost the sector would also need to be included in the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) and the ministry was in discussions with the Ministry of Economic Affairs on the matter.

“So if we can develop agro-culinary further, it will not only be a tourism product but will be able to boost other supporting industries.

“2020 is the final year of the 11MP and with the 12MP, we hope that we will have the support of other relevant ministries, especially the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economic Affairs to make this happen,” he said.

On the seminar, Zainal Azman said all the suggestions received from the participants would be fine- tuned and included in his ministry’s strategic plan to help further develop the country’s agro-tourism sector which had so far contributed more than RM200 billion to the country’s revenue.

Also present at the event was Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development
Institute (MARDI) director-general, Datuk Dr Mohamad Roff Mohd Noor.

With more than 200 participants, the three-day seminar starting yesterday with the theme, ‘Technology the Catalyst for Agro Tourism’, is organised by MARDI in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. — Bernama