By Noor Eszereen Juferi
Photo by Mohd Hasrul Hamdan
PASIR GUDANG, 17 March (UPM) – Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) has held a day-long exhibition here to encourage urban dwellers to practise urban agriculture on a larger scale under its urban agriculture transformation programme.
Officiated by the Minister of Higher Education, Dato’ Seri Mohamed KhaledNordin at the LamanRekreasi Sungai Buluh, Pasir Gudang, today, the exhibition was also the curtain-raiser to the field work to be undertaken by the agricultural scientists and experts of UPM to spark off the interest of the urban residents in urban agriculture.
Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said through the progamme, these urbanites would also stand to gain, while igniting a thriving large scale urban agriculture with the use of modern approach that is suitable with their home conditions.
“This is part of the community relations where knowledge sharing and consultations are given by UPM experts to targeted group, comprising multi-discipline and agriculture technology,” he said when launching the UPM Urban Agriculture Transformation Programme.
Also present were Vice Chancellor of UPM, Prof DatukMohd. Fauzi Ramlan, academics, researchers and UPM experts who are involved in the urban agriculture programme.
More than five hundred people thronged the full- day programme, which was held for the first time by UPM. Among the attractions were the technology and hydroponic systems for urban agriculture, agriculture outreach and pet clinics, health checks, compost-making from organic kitchen waste and a demonstration on mushroom growing.
The centre piece of the exhibition was the unveiling of the mobile agriculture clinic of UPM, which was a coach that was specially outfitted for UPM scientists and experts to take to the field to guide and teach the urbanites on urban agriculture.
Prof Datuk DrMohd Fauzi, in his welcoming remarks at the opening ceremony, said the programmewas part of UPM’s commitment to transfer its intellectual and infrastructural know-how in agriculture, which is its niche area, to the urban communities in a practical way.
“As a university that is a pioneer in agricultural research and knowledge dissemination, it is only appropriate that UPM gives back (to the communities) the excellent results of its work on the agriculture sector while introducing new knowledge and discoveries,” he said.
He said UPM has also introduced the ‘Agriculture Outreach Clinic’ to go out to communicate with the community directly at the site.
“The mobile clinic is fully equipped with a mini laboratory for diagnosis, reference corner, space for discussion with the experts, showcase area, as well as visual tools for community awareness,” he said.
With the Agriculture Outreach Clinic the university’s research findings and current technology can be shared with the people promptly, he said.