While Malaysia is moving quickly towards its Industry 4.0 aspirations, agriculture remains vital, contributing RM89.5 billion to the country’s economy in 2016.
This was on full display at the recently concluded Malaysia Agriculture, Horticulture and Agrotourism Show (MAHA 2018).
Spanning 11 days, the biennial event is touted as the leading agricultural shows of its kind in the region.
MAHA 2018 was held at Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) an area covering close to 100 hectares just outside Malaysia’s administrative capital, Putrajaya.
This year’s event drew over three million visitors – from industry players to the general public – all eager to explore the many faces of agriculture today while taking advantage of attractive offers from close to one thousand exhibitors and businesses.
Participants not only networked and learned about the latest agricultural methods and innovations, there was a palpable sense that they were taking part in a movement
that will enable Malaysia to be a significant contributor to the global agricultural revolution focused on food security amidst a huge population boom and the challenges of climate change.
This is in line with MAHA 2018’s theme, “Our Food Our Future”, which highlights the aim of enhancing Malaysia’s food security and sovereignty through technological innovations, in readiness for a growing population expected to reach 41.2 million by 2040.
Traditional farming and agricultural practices will not be able to keep up with, let alone sustain this explosive food demand, Malaysia’s Prime Minister, YAB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed pointed out at the Opening Ceremony of MAHA 2018.
“The agricultural and food production sector must come out of its traditional shell and modernise to increase production and create better products,” Mahathir added.
This message was echoed by the Minister of Economic Affairs, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali who announced that his ministry will be working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry to provide financial support and capital assistance.
“My ministry sees agriculture as an important sector which has contributed to the economy and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Malaysia.
This follows the availability of many quality local products with the potential to penetrate into the international market,” he said, after visiting MAHA 2018.
Visitors were also treated to a plethora of fun games, activities and offers for the whole family.
Among the most popular highlights is the Agro Bazaar, which had fresh produce, unusual agro-products, handicrafts and other unique items on sale.
There was also pop and cultural performances by some of Malaysia’s leading artistes to enjoy alongside discounts for agrotourism experiences.
Undoubtedly the biggest draw of MAHA 2018 was the opportunity to be amongst the first to taste a new durian variety, “Jantung Gold”, which made its debut at the Castle of Fruit exhibition.
The long line and satisfied customers signal a bright future for this new take on the King of Fruits, to be available soon at a market near you.