Tuesday, March 28

Food security crosses ministries – Chan


Chan cutting a cake as a symbolic launch of SIFEX 2023.

KOTA KINABALU (March 18): Food security is an issue that crosses ministries and is not an issue that is the purview of only one ministry.

“For example my ministry is more on food production itself while the International Trade and Investment Ministry looks after the processing level, the Health Ministry in the issue of food safety and the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry,” said Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Chan Foong Hin.

It crosses ministries, effort at federal and state level, he said, adding that everyone needs to work together including the private sector.

Speaking at the opening of the Sabah International Food Expo that is being held at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) here, Chan cited as example the RM10 million allocation from MDEC to assist the Farmers Association Board to ensure that 100 of its branches adopt new technology for this year.

“It is now up to the Farmers Association Board in every state to submit their application for the allocation,” said Chan.

He also stressed that the government pays much attention to padi cultivation in the aspect of food security.

This is why RM1.62 billion out of RM5.3 billion is for padi, Chan said.

Meanwhile in his speech earlier, Chan said SIFEX is the venue to get to know food and beverage brands, especially those made in Sabah, and also to take business opportunities as well as collaborations offered by food and beverage producers participating in the expo.

He stressed there is a need to improve in the food and agriculture industry, be innovative, upgrade the quality and internationalization.

Malaysia, he said is multi-racial and the diversity has resulted in the country to be rich in a variety of traditional foods.

Along with the development and advancement of technology, various new foods emerged as a result of innovation, some that come from traditional foods that are creatively innovated according to Malaysian tastes.

“There are actually many more foods or drinks that can be innovated from the variety of traditional Malaysian menus. I believe that we in Malaysia, especially in Sabah, also have the potential to become a production hub and the country’s food paradise,” he said.

Creative innovation can be integrated with today’s IT technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and IoT and will certainly be able to further improve the quality standards as well as crop yield and food production.

“For that reason, I always emphasize the importance of young people today being actively involved in smart agriculture so that quality and standards can be improved from time to time.

“They can apply for various capital incentives provided by the government as announced by the Prime Minister during the recent presentation of the national Budget 2023 with funding agencies such as Agrobank.

Chan pointed out that when our food is of high quality, then our potential to penetrate the global market is also high.

“Therefore, I would like to call on the participants of SIFEX to take the opportunity to build a network with international companies that are also participating in this exhibition. With the world’s population expected to increase to 9.7 billion by 2050, the opportunity to enter the global market is wide and open if we manage to plan the marketing strategy correctly starting today.

“The ministry will provide solid support to all industry players and I am ready to discuss if there are any issues, problems, suggestions and ideas to advance the country’s agriculture and food sector in line with the policies and policies of the Unity Government from time to time,” said Chan.