JOHOR BARU: Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and youths are encouraged to take part in the development of modern farming activities in Iskandar Malaysia.
Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said Irda wanted to position Iskandar Malaysia as a leading region for modern farming in the country.
“We want to be in the forefront in modern farming as the sector offers good growth prospects and opportunities for SMEs and youths, ’’ he said.
Ismail said Iskandar Malaysia needed to distinguish itself from conventional farming activities undertaken by other parties.
He said the doubling of the country’s first economic growth corridor from 2,217sq km to 4,749sq km in February this year would allow Iskandar Malaysia to provide more land for development at an affordable cost, besides introducing new methods of farming.
The expanded Iskandar Malaysia, known as Greater Iskandar Malaysia, encompasses parts of Kluang in central Johor, Kota Tinggi in the east and Pontian in the west.
The areas also include Simpang Renggam and Renggam in Kluang, Pontian town and Pengerang and Desaru in Kota Tinggi.
“Modern farming sector in Greater Iskandar Malaysia would involve downstream and upstream activities, ’’ said Ismail.
He said the way forward for Irda was to modernise farming activities in Iskandar Malaysia to bring high yields and returns for local farmers and to reduce the country’s dependency on food imports.
Ismail said one option was to get existing smallholders together to form a consortium to produce vegetables, fruits, eggs and meat not only for the domestic market but also for export.
He also said Irda would work closely with Agriculture Ministry to develop modern farming activities in Iskandar Malaysia including creating better awareness and educating the youths to get involved in modern farming.
He said modern farming activities in Iskandar Malaysia would benefit from Johor’s proximity to Singapore.
“It only makes sense to export our farm produce to Singapore with its six million population offering a ready market, ’’ he added.
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