MUAR: The Agriculture Ministry is looking into providing incentives to generate greater growth in the farming sector in its bid to double or even triple the income of farmers.
Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the Prime Minister wanted the agricultural sector to be a major economic engine of the country.
He said Malaysia had over five million farmers, including Felda and Felcra settlers, who had a huge land asset which should be fully utilised to generate greater economic growth.
However, many of the farmers are not making full use of their plots and only earn between RM700 and RM800 per month.
We want to double or triple their income by increasing produces, introducing integrated farming and involving them in agro-food manufacturing industry, he said after presenting land titles to Felda Sri Jaya settlers here on Friday.
Muhyiddin said the incentives would be in the form of high quality fertiliser, modern farming tools, including machines and financial aid.
He said if farmers in Japan, Taiwan and even Indonesia, could become rich despite having smaller plots, there was no reason why Malaysian farmers should remain poor.
He said if they used modern tools and high quality fertilisers, they too could reap good harvests.
Besides farmers, Muhyiddin said the ministry would also look into improving the livelihood of cattle breeders and fishermen, who were among the nation's major food producers.
We will study ways to increase the meat production and fish supply so as to increase their income.
When we achieve these, we will also reduce on our import of meat and fish, he said.
Muhyiddin advised settlers who received their land titles not to sell their plots for fast money as Malaysia had limited land to allocate to the people.
Now that you own the plots and have the rights to the land, some may want to sell their land, but you will soon regret.
This land is yours to pass down to your children, grandchildren or great-great grandchildren, he added.