KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will face a food crisis if the younger generation continues to neglect the agriculture and agro-based sectors.
"There is no crisis yet, but for a car to move, you must have the engine.
"The engine for this (agriculture and agro-based) industry is the people," said Deputy Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (pic).
He was speaking at a press conference Monday where he was asked if labour shortage in the industry could lead to a food crisis.
He said currently, only 15% of the 800,000 members in the Farmers Organisation Authority were aged below 40, while members aged 60 and above made up 45%.
Tajuddin said the lack of interest among the younger generation was the reason why their participation in the industry was low.
He said the younger generation needed to view the agriculture industry as a promising sector because it could be economically rewarding.
"Those who want to 'makan gaji' (be salaried workers) in factories, I urge you to become entrepreneurs in the agriculture industry. It is more lucrative.
"There needs to be a change in mentality among the younger generation," he said.
Tajuddin also said that his ministry was doing its best to encourage farmers to embrace technology.
He said the country spent RM18bil to import food items such as rice, meat, vegetables, fruits and animal feed.