@Halal May/June 2021 | Page 4

It will provide RM25m to scale AgTech pilot


@ Halal | May-June . 2021

MDEC has been a long-time proponent of digitalising the agriculture sector via a public-private partnership with the Pertubuhan Peladang Kawasan Kuala Langat ( PPKKL ). It initiated a pilot project in 2018 to spur yield and quality of crops utilising the latest technologies .

It has seen farmers adopting an Internet of Things ( IoT ) -enabled fertigation system . It has helped them reduce monthly fertiliser usage by 20 per cent , lower monthly manpower requirements by 25 per cent and increase the overall quality of yield ( Grade A chillies ) by up to 90 per cent .
The MoU with CIMB Islamic will enable this initiative to go nationwide at scale and thereby contributing to the nation ’ s food security and sovereignty .
The facility will lower the access barrier for Malaysian farmers to embark on the digitalisation journey and spur the growth of the agriculture sector for overall improvement , advancement and optimisation .
Current key Digital AgTech initiatives by MDEC , such as the eLadang programme , had benefitted 548 participants as of December 2019 . Of this , 78 farmers have utilised digital farming technology , leading to a 20 per cent increase in productivity and 30 per cent income increment and a reduction in operating cost by 30 per cent .
Three digital labs were also formed to train , certify and drive digital technology

MDEC and CIMB Islamic sign MoU

It will provide RM25m to scale AgTech pilot
Above : ( Seated , from left ) Surina Shukri , CEO , MDEC and Ahmad Shahriman , CEO , CIMB Islamic , signing the MOU . ( Standing , from left ) Ronald Kiandee , Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries ; Saifuddin Abdullah , Minister of Communications and Multimedia ; and Dr Rais Hussin , chairman , MDEC . adoption in farming .
“ For 2020 , going digital had been a major focus for businesses . This critical juncture is important , not just for businesses , but in sectors such as agriculture ,” said the Minister of Communications and Multimedia , Dato ’ Saifuddin Abdullah .
“ This is a significant milestone for both MDEC and CIMB Islamic . It introduces and provides access to next-gen technologies like IoT , Artificial Intelligence ( AI ) and Big Data Analytics to farmers , bringing the agrosector into the digital realm .
“ This is in line with the industry ’ s 30 per cent expected growth rate for productivity . Now , this sector can quickly adopt digital technologies as part of Malaysia ’ s drive to propel forward the digital economy aligned with MyDIGITAL . This collaboration is the next step to digitally transform the agriculture sector on a national level .”
The MoU marks a new chapter in MDEC ’ s push in agricultural innovation to encourage adopting the latest digital methods , such as AI , IoT and Big Data Optimisation , to increase crop yield and quality .
The partnership with CIMB Islamic will offer an affordable profit rate in agricultural financing facilities at 3.5 per cent per annum . This will benefit the current crop of farmers and encourage more youngsters to break into this business .
With the proliferation of digital technology in the agriculture sector , an estimated 30 per cent increase in job opportunities will be created by 2025 in this sector .
Wide usage of Digital AgTech will also drive more youths into this sector , most of whom will be needed to manage and run these innovations . Under the MDEC eLadang pilot project , 70 per cent of 548 participants trained up to December 2019 in Digital AgTech hail from the Under-40 age group .
Saifuddin said : “ The MDEC and CIMB Islamic collaboration will provide another growth avenue for farmers as they embrace the digital economy . They will gain even more relevance in this new era of disruption .
“ It will also serve to encourage more youngsters to till this field and form the next crop of Malaysia ’ s agricultural industry . The support enables farmers to go digital and further reinforces the potential opportunities that the agriculture sector offers , especially with talent up-skilling and digital growth .”
This is undoubtedly complementary with the Agrofood Value Chain Modernisation Programme introduced in Budget 2021 , he highlighted .
Both ministers were in attendance to witness the signing of the MoU between MDEC and CIMB Islamic . The signatories for both parties included Surina Shukri , CEO of MDEC and Ahmad Shahriman Mohd Shariff , CEO of CIMB Islamic .
“ This public-private collaboration marks an important milestone in our efforts to digitally empower the Malaysian economy ,” said Datuk Wira Dr Rais Hussin , Chairman of MDEC .
“ By harnessing the power of the latest advancements offered by AI , IoT and BDA , we can build a vibrant AgTech ecosystem . It will increase productivity and quality with competitive cost of production , increase farmers ’ income and making farming enticing for the youths .”
This also ensures we safeguard our food security , safety and sovereignty , alleviating our reliance on food importations . In fact , through our pilot project , crop yield has seen a 22 per cent quality improvement and an overall reduction of operations cost by 30 per cent . Income has also seen a 33 per cent hike .
With the partnership with CIMB Islamic , the initiative is hoped to spread nationwide and immediately modernise Malaysia ’ s agriculture sector and create opportunities for many in line with the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint ( MyDIGITAL ) and Malaysia 5.0 .