By Hasnah Jusid
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 (Bernama) -- Agrotech Farming and Trading (M) Sdn Bhd (Agrotech Farming) is keen to bring and implement an innovative, cost-effective organic farming in Malaysia through a joint-venture agremeent (JVA) with one of the biggest agricultural cooperatives in India.
Its adviser, SR Naga, said the company, which was established in 2022, is now in the process of acquiring land located mainly in Selangor and Perak for the project.
The project will kick off with crops such as tomato, okra, green chilli, sweet potatoes, honey dew, sweet pumpkin, tapioca, rock melon, and other vegetables that are in demand.
He said indigenous technologies such as vermicomposting and anaerobic composting to nurture the plants and soil was proven to aid crops to produce better yields in India and this would be able to help improve the country's food security if it is implemented here.
“The main concept is to do it 100 per cent organic, and as cost is a factor, we had discussions with our partner in India and we witnessed one of the techniques used in their farms is able to reduce the cost of the organic produce. We are looking forward to practise the same concept in Malaysia which will be affordable for the local consumers,” he told Bernama in an interview today.
The JVA was inked in India on Jan 28, 2024, between SR Naga and Shivaji Dole, chairman/founder of Venkateshwara Co-operative Power & Agro Processing Ltd, which was witnessed by two federal and two state ministers of India, and a crowd of some 16,000 people.
Venkateshwara Co-operative based in Maharashtra, India, consists of over 75,000 members and about 20,000 farmers who are engaged in different kinds of agro and agro-allied activities currently. It operates in the major states in India.
SR Naga said Agrotech Farming had also held a meeting with the representatives from the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security last Friday to discuss this matter.
“Basically they support us, they like this entire idea and model of the project we are getting into, so what they want right now is to proceed with the project. Of course, here again we are looking at two areas, first to have our own land for the plantation and to perform a test run, and at the same time, work with the local farmers.
“They have government-linked companies (GLCs)...of course, we are also in negotiations with them. They're prepared to help and work together with us. So we have to do it accurately. We need to have an understanding, we cannot afford to fail in this project,” he said.
If the project is successful, SR Naga said it is expected to provide a lot of job opportunities, including for the students and retired military personnel.
“We will equip them with training, and we'll join hands with some renowned institutes which will certify them once they are qualified and we would also allocate certain space in our land to train them to be agropreneurs,” he said.
Besides introducing eco-friendly fertilisers and pesticides using the technology, the JV also allows the company to directly import the crops from India, which are currently in demand in Malaysia, for example, onion and other food necessities from the farms in India under the incorporated company.
"We are ready to work and support the local wholesale importers for a cost-effective pricing, directly dealing with our farms (in India). This way, it will be (more) affordable for our consumers.
“With export approval (granted) in India specially for our company to import (produce) at lower cost and guaranteed quantity, this can help reduce the burden and help the country to get sufficient supplies for the local people,” he said.
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