Agro heroes hailed for seeding food security

SERDANG: The Agriculture Department’s decade-old voluntary Plant Material Verification Scheme (SPBT) has seen 228 registered producers coming on board, resulting in the certification of 63.3 million master/mother trees (pokok induk) and 63.6 million plant materials as having met standards.

Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee, who launched the commemoration of the decade-long SPBT that took on the theme “Seeds, the Foundation of National Food Security”, congratulated nursery operators who produced certified quality planting materials ranging from seeds to seedlings.

Calling participants of SPBT as “agro heroes”, Kiandee said certified crop material was an important basic input for food production.

The use of certified planting material guarantees the authenticity of the breed and its quality, with the production of pure and quality plant material achievable only through compliance with crop material production procedures and adherence to established standards.

“We still have a long way to go. I hope the number of agro heroes who benefited from this scheme will increase.

“In addition, it is hoped that attractive price offers and opportunities to penetrate the international market will attract the interest of more to apply for this scheme,” he said in his speech at the event yesterday held at the Malaysian Agriculture, Horticulture and Agro-tourism Exhibition (Maha 2022) held at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS).

Kiandee said that in the past decade, a total of 111 officers had been trained and appointed as competent inspectors.

In terms of coverage, the scheme covers 25 types of plants that include 104 varieties of commercial importance ranging from durian to rambutan and papaya to banana.

SPBT is a free, voluntary programme open to all nursery operators in Malaysia, with details available at the Agriculture Department’s website.

Kiandee also hoped that through this scheme, all agrofood industry players could implement good agricultural practices to produce and plant only quality seedlings.

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