Image credit: Borneo Post Online

KUCHING: The Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Ministry (MEDAC) hopes to see more small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the country venture into the agricultural sector.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said as much as 89 per cent of SMEs are currently involved in the service sector and the remaining 11 per cent are involved in agriculture, mining, manufacturing and construction.

“I feel that food production, which is agriculture, is something easier to do for SMEs, especially cooperatives,” he said during a press conference after launching the ‘Niaga Tani Pintar, Jana Income Steady’ awareness talk programme today.

He said MEDAC considered the agricultural sector vital for food security in the future as it will be critical when the world tackles climate change, an issue closely related to food production.

“In such circumstances, I have instructed the ministry to increase the number of SMEs to be involved in the agricultural sector,” he said.

Wan Junaidi said that if food production is viewed globally, for example in Vietnam, Thailand, China and other countries producing food, specifically rice, many areas that were previously planted with rice have been taken over by other industries.

“This means that areas dedicated to rice planting and other food will continue to reduce. I intend to promote the idea that more Malaysians be involved in the agricultural sector so that we can produce our own food without depending on other countries,” he added.

Regarding the talk programme, he said it was MEDAC’s initiative to create awareness among entrepreneurs and members of cooperatives on how to generate income through modern agriculture using industrial revolution 4.0 technology.

The programme, attended by over 200 cooperative members, touched on the potential of the agricultural sector in Sarawak and the use of technology in efficient agricultural management.