Agriculture Ministry banking on e-commerce platforms to attract youth into farming

  • Nation
  • Monday, 15 Jun 2020

PETALING JAYA: The government is banking on e-commerce platforms such as Ourfarm, Dropee, Farm2Table and CP3 to attract the younger generation to venture into farming.

Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said such e-platforms would directly connect farmers to businesses, enabling the producers to generate a higher income by eliminating middlemen.

"This will help create a new ecosystem in the agriculture industry, and improve food security in Malaysia as a whole," he said when launching the Ourfarm e-platform at the Serdang Agriculture Department on Monday (June 15).

AirAsia established Ourfarm with the support of the ministry to directly connect producers including farmers to businesses such as hotels, restaurants and catering, providing greater profit for farmers and greater savings for the buyers.

"Access to market has always been a major challenge for our agro-food producers.

"It is to our hope that through Ourfarm Asia, our producers can now have direct access to wholesalers and distributors," he said.

Also present were AirAsia Group executive chairman Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, and chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

"I am also glad to learn that the platform is backed by AirAsia’s eco-system of cargo, logistics, payment, business and consumer base, that is able to overcome the challenges of operating costs and access to new markets for the farmers, enabling the purchase of fresh produce in large quantity at a lower price, and providing logistics services for buyers.

"When AirAsia Group reached out to us the other day, we were in the midst of tackling the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the agriculture sector," he said.

He added that at the initial stage of the movement control order (MCO), many farmers and fishermen faced problems to market their products because of limited outlets to sell the products as well as logistical constraints.

"Before the pandemic, e-commerce was a relatively new and lesser-known platform in the area of procuring fresh produce and agro-food products.

"However, the MCO period witnessed an increase in Business-to-Consumer (B2C) transactions in e-commerce platforms as the MCO

prompted a change in both selling and purchasing habits, with the Ministry’s e-commerce platform for fish products, Nekmatbiz, recording 10 times more sales than usual.

"Our Agrobazaar Online platform reported a significant increase in sales with a total of over RM12mil as of date," he said.

Kiandee said the government encouraged more SMEs to shift to e-commerce initiatives.

He said RM700mil was allocated under the short-term Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) to facilitate digital transformation for SMEs to tap on online market opportunities.

"This B2B platform will be the game-changer for the traditional sectors such as the agro-food industry," he said.

Kiandee said the ministry was also working with other e-commerce platforms to improve bargaining power and encourage healthy competition.

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