KUCHING, Dec 27 — The Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Ministry (Medac) is cooperating with several other ministries to encourage the participation of youths in the agriculture industry to strengthen the country’s food security.

Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said today that the cooperation aims to provide funds and guidance to youths who are interested in venturing into entrepreneurship in agriculture.

“My (ministry) will assist the young generation by guiding them to get involved with these industries,” he said after visiting the Sarawak Angkatan Koperasi Malaysia Berhad (Angkasa) communications office here today.

According to him, the Sarawak government’s approach to encourage youth participation in agriculture entrepreneurship through channeling of funds, training and the opening of a trade office in Singapore to expand the market for their products should be emulated.

“Just follow what Sarawak is doing (and) I am certain that the agriculture (industry) will have a great future because Sarawak plays its part well in food supply chain management,” he said.

Wan Junaidi said many cooperatives in the country were still focused on the service sector, especially in the provision of credit facilities, and only a small number were involved in production.

“I want to ‘adjust’ (the situation) so that in the years to come we will see a decrease in the number of people (cooperatives) in the service sector and an increase in the production sector, including construction, manufacturing and agriculture,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a media statement distributed during the visit, he said the meat cartel issue that came to light recently should serve as an eye-opener to everyone regarding the need for Malaysians to be involved in production, especially of halal food.

Malaysians were too dependent on imported agriculture products and it was time that they got involved in the food production industry ecosystem, he said.

“We want more youths and unemployed graduates to become agropreneurs. They need to change their mindset don’t just focus on becoming wage earners. They should open their eyes to the enormous business potential in the food production sector,” he added.