Abdullah Asks Big Agri Developers To Help The Small

1/14/2009 — BERNAMA
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today called on developers of large-scale and high-impact agricultural projects to assist smallholders in the same field to consolidate the food production industry in the country.
The prime minister said the conglomerates could allow the smallholders to ride on their projects to develop the industry together for greater competitiveness.
“Small entrepreneurs who own two, three or 10 hectares of land can be helped in terms of crops, fertilizer, seedlings and management, and their produce can be bought by the large farms,” he said when launching the Permanent Food Production Park and Lanchang Modern Agriculture Park near here.
His wife, Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah, Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed and several Cabinet ministers and Pahang state executive councillors were also present at the event.
Abdullah said it would be difficult for the small farmers to garner better returns if they worked independently.
The Permanent Food Production Park is a high-impact project implemented on 3,600 hectares under the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) development corridor, with the focus on vegetables and fruits including papaya, jackfruit, pineapple and starfruit.
Abdullah also said that fruit production efforts must give value added to the industry by diversifying the by-products.
This was one way of overcoming a glut of fruits in the market during a period of good harvest, he added.
Citing an example, he said the seeds of the jackfruit could be used to produce by-products, and called for stepping up of research in the area.
Abdullah said the government’s focus on the agricultural industry was necessary as part of the government’s efforts to ensure sufficient supply of food for the country.
He said that with good planning and implementation, it was not impossible for Malaysia to become a large food producer like the Netherlands.