Sunday, December 26, 2010

Agriculture NKEA

Posted on December 22, 2010, Wednesday
KUCHING: The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, the lead ministry for the Agriculture National Key Economic Area (NKEA), has announced that the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) has received approval to develop of a Herbal Cultivation Park in Terengganu.
Datuk Seri Noh Omar
In a statement from Kuala Lumpur yesterday, the ministry stated that a 461-hectare land in Pasir Raja, Terengganu would be used to cultivate seven types of herbs in high demand. The herbs are ‘tongkat Ali’ (Eurycoma longifolia), ‘kacip Fatimah’ (Labissa pumila), ‘misai kucing’ (Orthosiphon aristatus), ‘dukung anak’ (Phyllanthus Niruri), ‘hempedu bumi’ (Andrographis paniculata), agarwood (Aquilara malaccencis) and lemon myrtle.

It stated that tongkat Ali would be expected to reap the highest annual revenue, estimated at RM225,000 per hectare, followed by dukung anak at an estimated RM136,500 per hectare. “The global trade of natural products amounted to RM777 billion in 2006, and is projected to triple to over RM2 trillion by 2020. “This project, which will create 285 jobs, is a crucial step to ensure the availability of a ready source of raw material as Malaysia moves up the value chain to become a leader in the production of nutraceuticals and botanical drugs,” said Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Datuk Seri Noh Omar in the statement.

ECERDC would also be planning to develop two additional herbal parks in Chegar Perah and Rantau Manis, due expectedly to take off in 2011 and 2013, respectively. “The global demand for agriculture produce is expanding rapidly and there are many niches that Malaysia can exploit, given our natural advantages. We aim to double the agriculture sector’s contribution to the GNI (gross national income) by expanding the production of high-value items and increasing the percentage of raw produce that is made into downstream products. “Through better infrastructure, management techniques and technology, we also target to increase productivity to enable farmers participating in our projects to more than double the monthly income that they receive,” added Noh.

Meanwhile, the Department of Veterinary Services under the ministry would be releasing the Malaysia Edible-Birdnest Industry Guidlines (1GP) to the public this week. The announcement would be seen as a timely move, given the nation’s status as the second largest global producer with an estimated RM1.5 billion worth in sales and annual growth of 20 per cent in the industry. Currently, the annual global market for edible-birdnest is estimated to be worth RM10.2 billion. The much anticipated guidelines would cover Good Animal Husbandry Practices (GAHP MS2273:2009) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP MS2333:2010), as well as the Malaysia Standard (MS). The 1GP would also touch on import export, traceability, registration
and licensing procedures of EBN industry. 

On the other end, the ministry had also identified 11 potential areas including one in Tasik Temenggor, Perak, for its integrated cage aquaculture trial programme. Slated for both marine and freshwater, the programme would be aimed at promoting large-scale, anchor-company driven cage-farming that would focus on three high export-value species: grouper, sea bass and tilapia. As such, a joint-venture between Department of Fisheries and Trapia Malaysia Sdn Bhd (Trapia) called ‘Synergy Farming Programme’ had been established with the aim of creating new entrepreneurs in this industry. Trapia, a joint-venture company between local company and a Norwegian company, Genomar, had been selected as the anchor company to head this Entry Point Project (EPP).

The venture would enable the transfer of technology from Norway to Malaysia while creating an export market presently estimated at 7,500 metric tonnes (mt) of ‘Genomar Supreme’ tilapia fillet worth RM32.25 million annually. The project would also create a niche for contract jobs and employment for locals. Additionally, the Synergy Farming Programme would be contributing 2,500mt of tilapia to the anchor company to achieve their production targets of 7,500mt annually through the provision of 20 cages and manpower by the government. Trapia, on the other hand, would assist in the training of the new entrepreneurs.

A total of 16 candidates had been selected for the programme, each given one cage and undergoing hands-on training under the company’s supervision. Successful trainees would be given two units each to operate, where they would be expected to produce approximately 100mt per cycle worth RM 500,000, generating income up to RM4,000 per month. The total annual production from the programme would be estimated to reach 2,500mt valued at RM10.75 million.

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