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UPM’s agricultural field vital, guarantees national food security

By: Noor Eszereen Juferi

When agriculture is mentioned, the stigma on that field exists, involving the public perception of ‘no future’, even though the agricultural sector is vital to the country, contributing to national income.

In Malaysia Economic Performance First Quarter 2022 released on May 13, 2022, by Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Chief Statistician of Malaysia, Dato' Sri Dr. Mohd Uzir Mahidin, said the economic performance in the first quarter of 2022 in terms of supply was driven by the continual growth of the service, manufacturing and agriculture sectors.

The National Recovery Council (MPN) proposed that Malaysia become an agricultural producing country to overcome food supply problems and be less dependent on other countries, as Berita Harian reported on June 14, 2022.

Director of the Institute of Tropical Agriculture and Food Security (ITAFos), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Prof. Dr. Mohd Rafii Yusop, said agriculture is an important field as it guarantees national food security.

"Even though agriculture is viewed as a rather heavy and 'dirty' job, it is essentially one of the country's economic activities crucial for producing food, livestock and others," he said.

He added that food security guarantees the nation’s harmony as food shortages can lead to chaos across the world population.

Prof. Dr. Mohd Rafil said the UPM's agricultural programme has climbed to 36th best in Agricultural Sciences in the world ranking, showing that UPM is a superior agricultural education institution.

"UPM not only produces graduates but also specialises in agriculture and has agricultural experts. One of the university's focuses is on how to produce products such as new crop varieties, fertilisers, smart agricultural control and products related to high-tech agriculture," he said.

As an expert in the field of plant breeding and genetics, his expertise is important in producing plant varieties that are notably needed by the country to increase crop yields, including rice, palm oil and vegetables.

Prof. Dr. Mohd Rafii hails from Pasir Salak, Perak, and has previously invented two new varieties of rice: PUTRA 1, which displays the characteristics of high-yield and rice disease resistance, while PUTRA 2 is a variety of high-yield which can reach up to 8 to 11 tons based on the fertility of a paddy field and is resistant to flash floods for 14 days.

At present, the second variety of rice has been commercialised and is being planted by rice farmers all over the country's paddy fields, especially in Peninsular Malaysia, and the rice seed has been certified by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFI).

He advised UPM graduates to venture into economic activities related to the field of agriculture and entrepreneurship, especially in the field of food production.

"UPM graduates can truly be a direct contributor to the nation’s economy, and they can modernise agriculture with their knowledge and education, especially in the use of modern agricultural technology, to improve the country’s agriculture and set an example for the rest of the world," he said. - UPM

Date of Input: 23/11/2022 | Updated: 19/01/2023 | hairul_nizam


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