KUALA LUMPUR: The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry’s new motto is to be the “national food fort”, says Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub.
He said this was in line with the ministry’s strategic agenda to promote food sustainability and reduce the country’s dependence on imported agricultural products.
“I believe if we produce more agropreneurs, we can achieve the target to ensure there is enough supply to meet local demand, ” he said.
He was speaking after presenting prizes to winners of the Agrobank Agropreneur Awards 2019 here yesterday.
Salahuddin said that although there were only about a million hectares of agricultural land in Malaysia, it was possible to optimise yield by using modern technology.
“Our padi fields cover 300,000ha, compared with 10 million hectares in Thailand, but we are able to meet 70% of local demand for rice, ” he added.
Salahuddin lauded Agrobank for creating successful multiracial agropreneurs through its financing schemes.
“Some of them have even become millionaires, ” he said.
Ayam Ori founder Halil Husairi and wife Roslina Abdul Rashid won the Excellent Agropreneur Award 2019 and received RM50,000 in prize money.
Together, they started their poultry processing business.
Later, they integrated poultry marketing with the grocery business.
Halil advised those who wished to venture into new businesses to start small with a smaller overhead.
“If we spend too much on overheads at the start of our business, it can lead to financial distress if the immediate turnover is not favourable. It would then be difficult to sustain your business, ” he said.
Ex-pilot Ramana Naidu, who is flying high providing corn grain for the feedlot industry, won the Young Agropreneur Award 2019 and RM10,000.
Ramana, 29, hoped to help the nation reduce its dependence on imported feedlot corn grain by at least 1%.
“Malaysia is importing 3.7 million tonnes of corn grain a year from countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, ” he said.
Micro Agropreneur Award 2019 winner Budiman Din managed to succeed in promoting food tourism.
Tourists have been thronging his cafe in Miri to taste Sarawak’s famous mee kolok.
Frusis Anak Lebi won the Person with Disabilities Award 2019 for his success in becoming the biggest vegetable supplier in Sri Aman, Sarawak.
Musleha Zainuddin won the Woman Agropreneur Award 2019.
She had succeeded in exporting her Agromas brand peanut paste to Dubai, China and Singapore.
Budiman, Frusis and Musleha each won RM10,000 in prize money.
Saw Seng Eng, who runs two jetties in Kudat, Sabah, won the Loyal Customer Award (Individual) 2019.
He bagged RM15,000 in prize money.
Sarawak’s Sri Muara Fishermen Association won the Loyal Customer Award (Company) 2019 and bagged RM20,000 in prize money.