Mohamad Sabu says that MAHA2024 aims to showcase the growth of technology in the agricultural industry and how it improves food security. — YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

SERDANG: This year’s Malaysia Agricultural, Horticulture and Agrotourism (MAHA2024) will focus on the food security sector that could attract the younger generation’s participation as it moves towards a competitive, innovative and contemporary era.

The Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu said MAHA2024, which will also celebrate its 100-year anniversary, carries the theme “Harvesting Tomorrow Where Dreams Blossom”, highlighting technological advancement in the field with artificial intelligence (AI).

“With climate change, increase of populations and the global market instability, we need to continue to look for solutions to increase our efficiency in the agriculture sector.

“Based on this year’s theme, our main aspirations are to increase the awareness on modern agriculture technology among farmers and entrepreneurs.

“Through this exhibition, visitors and stakeholders will be able to experience firsthand how innovative applications such as smart agriculture, the use of big data and automation can be applied in their daily operations,” he said when launching the exhibition at Malaysia Agro Exposition Park (MAEPS) on Monday.

Since 1923, MAHA has become South-East Asia’s premier agricultural exhibition showcasing a century worth of innovation and resilience in the farming sector while promoting sustainable practices.

Mohamad said since its formation, MAHA has been the catalyst to narrow the gap between the rural and urban areas in the country.

He also expressed hope for the exhibition to encourage sustainable agriculture practices to preserve future farming resources.

“I hope that the agricultural practices we implement would not only benefit us but can be inherited by the next generation,” he said.

Mohamad added that MAHA2024, which will be held from Sept 11 to 22 at MAEPS, must be the platform to promote local farming products to the international market.

“With the participation of more than 29 countries, MAHA2024 aims to showcase the growth of technology in the agricultural industry and how it improves food security in a rapidly evolving ecosystem.

“As we invite more foreign delegates and investors to MAHA this year, we hope that it can be a platform to boost local products at a global level,” he added.

Mohamad said the MAHA Go Global programme would provide opportunities for more than 180 international companies, involving farming technologies.

The programme, he said, would allow matching businesses with local entrepreneurs and potentially bring in investors to the country’s agrofood sector.

“We are lucky to have international companies visiting the exhibition. It is an opportunity for us to learn from our colleagues on food security as it is a global issue,” he said.

Mohamad also emphasised that the agricultural sector is not only about food production, but also includes broader economic, social and ecological aspects.

“Hence, it is important for us to integrate all of these aspects in the planning and implementation of the nation’s agriculture policies,” he said.

“With the challenges of climate change, population growth and global market instability, we need to continue to find ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the agricultural sector.

“To farmers, entrepreneurs and all agricultural industry activists, I call on you all to take this opportunity to learn the latest technologies and practices that will be exhibited at MAHA2024.

“Make this exhibition a platform to share experiences, exchange ideas, and find potential business partners,” he said.

Mohamad also targeted RM6bil worth of potential investments from memorandums of understanding (MoU) and memorandums of agreement (MoA).

He also set a target for trade of up to RM40mil to be generated through sales activities during the nine-day public exhibition and three-day trade show.

The minister added that he expects three million visitors throughout the event as well as 2,000 exhibitors and agricultural entrepreneurs as participants.

“We are targetting potential funding worth RM600mil or 4,000 applications.

“The target for exhibitors is more than 2,000 while the social media outreach target is 10 million people,” he said.

In 2022, MAHA recorded an attendance of over one million visitors, with 33 MoU and MoA worth RM5.64bil signed.

The upcoming exhibition will also bring in international participants through a wide array of forums and seminars led by prominent speakers in the field.

There will also be fun activities at the exhibition, namely Magical at Night and 3D Water Show; Rhythm of Farmers; Sunflower and Orchid Garden; Motorhomes and Glamping, as well as Floating Market.

For more information on MAHA2024, visit https://mahaofficial.my/maha-2024/

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