CYBERJAYA: The Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) and CIMB Islamic Bank are providing RM25mil micro-financing as an initial funding package to drive the country’s agriculture ecosystem based on digital technology (AgTech).
Starting with an allocation of RM10mil, the programme offers funding of RM20,000 per applicant that will benefit 500 people and encourage farmers to adopt the use of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics (BDA) and Internet-of-things (IoT)-based applications.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (pic) said this collaboration was important to ensure digital technology could be applied quickly as part of Malaysia’s efforts to advance the digital economy in line with the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDigital).
“The agricultural sector, production of quality food products and food security are important. In Malaysia, this sector has gone through a period of ups and downs due to climate change and the policies implemented.
“The government is committed to developing the agricultural sector and the use of digital technology is one of the factors to boost performance and success, ” he told reporters after witnessing the signing ceremony between MDEC and CIMB Islamic.
Also present were Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee, MDEC chairman Datuk Dr Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff, MDEC chief executive officer Surina Shukri and CIMB Islamic chief executive officer Ahmad Shahriman Mohd Shariff.
Following the agreement, CIMB Islamic is offering one of the lowest interest rates in agricultural financing at 3.5% per annum not only to benefit existing farmers but also to encourage youths to venture into agriculture.
Saifuddin said modern agriculture concept in monitoring and management using AI and BDA such as aerial imagery, temperature and humidity sensors and fertiliser management would provide opportunities for farmers and entrepreneurs to make profits and advancing the agriculture sector to attract young people.
“This collaboration is the beginning of the next step towards transforming the agricultural sector to digitisation at the national level, ” he said.
Ronald said MDEC and CIMB Islamic’s collaboration was an initiative aimed at the target group for the procurement of equipment and technology based on Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) in an effort to increase the use of modern technology in every agro-food value chain as well as open new growth avenues for farmers to participate in the digital economy and reap more benefits.
“It is our great hope to see more people, especially the youth, turn to agriculture as a source of income after being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. — Bernama