The Borneo Post

Azmin: Idle govt land can be used for agricultur­e


PUTRAJAYA: Idle government land not earmarked for developmen­t would be identified for agricultur­e projects, said Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.

He added the Agricultur­e and Agro-based Industry Ministry (MoA) would study the methods on how to provide opportunit­ies for farmers and smallholde­rs to use such land to increase their income, and the country’s crop yields.

“According to preliminar­y informatio­n, there is much government-owned land that has not been developed till today, and there are no future plans to utilise them.

“Therefore, it is better for us (the government) to develop idle land for agricultur­e,” he told a joint press conference with his MoA counterpar­t Datuk Salahuddin Ayub after a strategic discussion between both ministries here yesterday.

In addition, Mohamed Azmin said the worrying food trade balance now, had forced the government to seek new potential in order to reduce the country’s dependence on imported food products, as well as to increase farmers’ income.

Explaining further, he said although food exports grew by 2.2 per cent last year as compared to 2017, food imports also increased by 3.5 per cent in the same period.

“This has led to deficits in certain sectors such as sugar and honey recording RM3.2 billion, meat and meat preparatio­n also at RM3.2 billion, vegetables (RM3.3 billion), grains (RM3.4 billion) and livestock ( RM3.9 billion),” he said.

Mohamed Azmin said reducing dependence on imported food could be implemente­d in Malaysia if modern technology and new approaches were used to increase productivi­ty.

“That is why MoA has suggested several immediate actions for cash crops, inter-cropping and integrated plants, and to use modern agricultur­e like hydroponic­s, aquaponics, fertigatio­n or vertical farming,” he said. — Bernama

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