SERDANG (Oct 12): The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) and its agencies including the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) are committed to boosting research on the country’s food security to ensure its sustainability in whatever situation.
Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said MARDI, as the major research agency under MAFI, had the role of conducting various research on food security including the socioeconomic aspects of the target groups.
Speaking to reporters after launching the MARDI Innovation Day 2021 (HIM 2021) celebration here on Tuesday, he suggested that MARDI build expertise to focus on national food security in its research work.
"Boosting food security is a continuous and dynamic process. After the two-year experience in facing the Covid-19 pandemic and food import hurdles, the government should be focusing more on food security,” he said.
In tackling the country’s food security challenges, he said innovation could not only overcome the current problems but had the potential of opening up space and new opportunities to benefit the agrofood industry.
Ronald said among the main challenges to the country’s food security that should be given priority and attention now were the increase in population and demand for food, rising cost of living and prices of food, as well as lack of food nutrition.
“The other challenges are low productivity, providing labour incentives, ageing farmers, private investment and research and development, as well as technology adaptation and mechanisation that are still low, climate change and natural resources capacity,” he added.
Ronald said MAFI had drawn up the National Food Security Policy Action Plan 2021-2025 to boost sustainability of the food production system so as to remain strong in facing any challenges.
He said MARDI had a very important role in the implementation of the National Food Security Policy Action Plan including increasing the research intensity, development and commercialisation to raise productivity in the agrofood sector.
"MAFI hopes that the technology and innovations created by MARDI could be transferred to the target groups based on the need and suitability in the food security value chain,” he said.
Also present at the HIM 2021 were MAFI Secretary-General, Datuk Haslina Abdul Hamid and MARDI Director-General, Datuk Dr Mohamad Zabawi Abdul Ghani.