KUCHING (April 15): Deputy Prime Minister Dato Sri Fadillah Yusof urged the Technological Association of Malaysia (TAM) to explore new opportunities with the relevant agencies to spearhead the development of agroparks and smart farming programmes in Sarawak.
He said as Sarawak aspires to be a net food exporter by 2030, TAM and government agencies as well as industry players must converge to collaborate and leverage on each other’s expertise, skill and technology.
“This is particularly in Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Robotics and Automation to drive productivity and growth especially in agriculture,” he said at the official launch of TAM’s national conference at Imperial Hotel here today.
Fadillah believed that from his perspective as Minister of Plantation and Commodities, technology plays a vital role in automating and enhancing productivity and quality of commodities from planting stage to the marketplace.
“For example, pepper being one of the key commodities of Sarawak is well-known for its superior qualities worldwide and is further developed by the Malaysian Pepper Board to enhance its competitiveness,” he said.
He pointed out that the board with its headquarters in Kuching is continuously harnessing technology in ensuring sustainable production of pepper through innovation, research and development including integrated modern farming solutions from upstream to downstream.
“For instance, drone technology is being applied to increase the efficiency and productivity of pepper cultivation through hyperspectral imaging technologies.
“The Pepper Farm Management Portal and mobile app through LadaGo are other platforms which enabled the industry to identify pepper diseases and offer treatment options to farmers to better manage their crops,” he said.
Fadillah said TAM has come a long way since its inception in 1946, and is recognised by the Malaysian Book of Records as the ‘Oldest Technical Civil Society’ and the establishment of its Sarawak branch in 2020 was an important way forward.
“This is timely and in line with Sarawak’s Digitalisation and Green Economy agenda through the Post Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030, which is expected to drive the state to be recognised as a regional economic powerhouse and where all Sarawakians will enjoy economic prosperity, social inclusivity and environmental sustainability,” he said.
The national conference, themed ‘Technology Without Borders 2023’, aims to inspire, invoke and rekindle the spirit of innovation and creativity through technology in all fields and aspects.