Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries: Developing idle land for farming among efforts towards national food security

Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee delivers a speech at the launch of the Bio-based Accelerator (BBA) program in Putrajaya, June 16, 2022. — Bernama pic

Thursday, 16 Jun 2022 7:04 PM MYT

PUTRAJAYA, June 16 — Developing idle land belonging to individuals, agencies or state governments for agriculture is among the approaches to be taken by the government to ensure national food security.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries, Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee said this would be discussed at the mentri besar and chief ministers’ meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob at the end of this month.

“We seek measures and actions to ensure food security, so developing idle land is among the solutions thought of by the government to ensure sustainable food supply,” he told a news conference after launching the Bio-based Accelerator (BBA) programme, here, today.

Last Monday, Ismail Sabri said cooperation between the federal and state governments would be stepped up in efforts to increase the size of land for agricultural use with the aim, among others, of ensuring food security and to reduce the dependence on food imports.

To reduce the input and food costs in the country, Ronald said among the steps being considered was the use of palm kernel waste as animal feed and to cover part of the cost of using palm kernel waste in the livestock industry.

“We are also looking at whether the electrical tariff imposed in the agrofood sector could be reduced in order to reduce the production costs,” he said.

Earlier, in his speech, Ronald said companies involved under the BBA program would be assisted and guided in terms of technology and product development, market access, commercialization of partnership facilities and enabling them to achieve the BioNexus status.

The BBA is a guidance and support program for start-up companies and local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) based on bio and biotechnology to take their expertise to a higher level through the use of the latest technology.

“This program will strengthen further the National Food Security agenda by helping new companies, micro businesses or big companies based on bio by making them more innovative through the use of science, technology and automaton in their respective business operations,” he said.

To date, he said, 49 companies in the agricultural, industrial and healthcare sectors had participated in the program under the Bioeconomy Development Corporation, an agency under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI), since it was implemented early this year.

Bioeconomy Development Corporation chief executive officer, Mohd Khairul Fidzal Abdul Razak said companies participating in the BBA would be guided for a period of six months to three years to qualify for the BioNexus status.

Companies with the BioNexus status qualify for special tax incentives, other facilities and assurances which could help in their growth and businesses. — Bernama

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