KUALA LUMPUR, August 11 – Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with PLS Plantations Berhad, a leading agrofood company in Malaysia, to conduct an in-depth study and put forward a proposal for the national food security programme. The MoU was officiated by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri Bin Yaakob at the biennial Malaysia Agriculture, Horticulture and Agro Tourism (MAHA) 2022.
Also present was the Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries, Yang Berhormat (YB) Datuk Seri Dr. Ronald Kiandee, and PLS Plantations’ Group Chairman, Yang Berbahagia (YBhg) Tan Sri Mohammed Nazir Bin Abdul Razak. Also in attendance to sign the MoU were YBhg Dato’ Haslina Binti Abdul Hamid, Secretary-General of MAFI, and PLS Plantations’ Group Chief Executive Officer, Lee Hun Kheng. YB Datuk Seri Dr. Ronald Kiandee said, Malaysia continues to rise on the Global Food Security Index (GFSI) and is ranked 39th, up from the 43rd spot in 2020.
We have performed well with an overall score of 70.1 compared to the previous year of 67.9. The increase in Malaysia’s score (compared to the previous year) is the highest increase in score among the 113 countries involved. However, due to multiple issues, compounded by rising population, and labour shortage, Malaysia’s food and agriculture imports remains high at around RM55.5 billion. As such, it is crucial for the industry – both public and private – to work closely to further strengthen our food sufficiency throughout the entire supply chain.
At the same time, we need to organise ourselves to capitalise on opportunities to generate higher incomes for agriculture frontliners, close the income gap, and improve livelihoods. Securing this future also requires us to attract more youth to participate in the sector and we see public-private partnerships as a key strategy to injecting new programmes, technologies, and platforms that will attract new farmers and participants to the industry.
Through these efforts we are confident we can improve our national food security resilience, accessibility, and affordability of quality food, which is in line with our National Food Security Policy (DSMN Action Plan) 2021 – 2025. YBhg. Tan Sri Mohammed Nazir added, “This MoU is a significant milestone for PLS Plantations. We look forward to supporting MAFI and the industry’s efforts to further improve the nation’s food sufficiency levels. The research and proposal will serve as a baseline that will guide our efforts in rolling out our food security programme.
In addition, our newly launched initiatives, the PLS Agropreneur Programme and PLS Integrated Agrotech Park, will contribute to creating a thriving ecosystem where we can attract the experienced and specialised farmers to scale their farms and produce, as well as bring the best and brightest to participate in the industry. The PLS Agropreneur Programme is a platform for new and experienced farmers who are interested to participate in the industry or scale their farms. It offers end-to-end support, from training and development, land lease, offtake network support, as well as financial support and incentives.
The PLS Intergated Agrotech Park serves as a platform for collaboration with universities, and agrofood to science and technology companies. He concluded, “Collaboration, specifically knowledge-sharing aided by technology and science have paved the way for the industries to grow and thrive. Likewise, for the agrofood industry, we see these initiatives as a way to elevate the industry, to bring our youth back to the suburbs and villages, and uplift the B40 communities, farmers and indigenous communities.”