BATU PAHAT: The Johor government is hoping to change the concept that agriculture is a low-skilled and outdated sector.
State Agriculture and Agro-based Industry committee chairman Ismail Mohamed said the community needed to see its great potential.
“Agriculture is a sector that will sustain and it is a lucrative business,” he said.
Last year, Johor’s agriculture sector remained the main contributor to the country’s economy, said Ismail.
“We are still the biggest producer for fruits, cash crops, coconut and others,” he said.
In 2012, a total of 57,735 million metric tonnes of various fruits worth RM707.8mil were produced, while coconut and cash crops contributed RM109.6mil and RM47.7mil respectively to the state.
The state also produced RM22.1mil worth of flowers from 326ha of land in the same year.
Ismail said Johor was also the main producer for chicken eggs and meat last year, where 3.8 billion eggs worth RM959mil and RM1.8bil worth of chicken meat were produced.
He added that 255 million ornamental fish worth RM332mil were caught and RM126mil was made from cage fish farming last year.
As for prawns, the state produced 7,476 million metric tonnes worth RM80.4mil last year.
Ismail said the state was having various programmes to encourage Johorians to venture into agriculture and ensure that the state continues to be one of the top food producers in the country.
Among the efforts are to maintain the Permanent Food Production Parks (TKPM) in the state and to push for integrated farming, he said, adding that Johor has set an example in the agriculture sector and is a reference in agriculture technology application.
To widen the agriculture sector, Ismail said the state is planning to boost its honeybee industry by setting up the National Apiary Centre in Parit Botak.
“We hope to become the biggest producer and exporter of honeybee products one day,” he said.
To date, some 100 entrepreneurs had invested in the honeybee industry with between 500 and 10,000 colonies still available in the state, he said.
Ismail added that it would be a challenging task for the state to transform and develop the honeybee industry to a higher level as it involved a change of traditional way of cultivation and thinking to a modern one.
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