Agro-Processing Training Program, Malaysia
The CIRDAP-BIRD-INFRA organised Exposure cum Training on Agro-processing Programme was held from 14 - 20 May 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in which 28 participants participated comprising of senior Bank Officials (from RBI, NABARD, Andhra Bank etc.), District Co-operative Banks and the Additional Secretary, Rural Development and Mission Director, Nagaland State Livelihood Mission.
The programme comprised both classroom presentations as well as field visits. The sessions included Agri-business and Agro-processing industries in Malaysia, Empowering Farmers Institutions in Agri-business, Youth Engagement in Agropreneur Programme, the role of Federal Agricultural Marketing Agency (FAMA), the Co-operative Sector in Malaysia. There were field visits to the various projects of District Office of the Department of Agriculture in Cameron Island, Pahang.
The Agro-processing projects in Cameron Island are export oriented and also cater to the domestic demand of Agro-based products namely, strawberry, mushroom, flowers, fruits etc. The unique feature of the projects is the support of the Ministry of Agriculture to the farmers for large scale production of Agro-based products through various incentives (both financial and technical). On the last day , a session on Micro credit initiatives for agri business and agro processing and the role of agro bank ‘Tekun’ in supporting the farmers.
The field visit also included Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI’s) Agro-Technology Park where the output of research in agricultural technology is implemented and demonstrated to the farmers and the public.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Malaysia’s initiative to attract the youth to agriculture was very impressive. The programme is called Graduate Agriculture Programme “Youth Agropreneur”. In this programme, youth who have completed graduation undergo a course on agriculture comprising mainly of exposure agro-based processing and thereby encouraged to become Youth Agropreneur. The Ministry of Agriculture implements the programme through Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI). (Copy of the presentation attached). Dr. Ahmad Safuan Bujang is the faculty of MARDI implementing the programme whom the Ministry of Youth Affairs may contact if it is felt that this kind of programme need to be replicated in India.
Learnings from the Program
Agriculture in Malaysia
- Over a period of six years contribution of agriculture to GDP has declined from 10% to 9% in Malaysia
- It has been on account of the fact that Malaysia finds it more convenient to import commodities rather than produce it at home.
- Urbanisation taking agri land.
- Cost of labor is also a critical component.
- Land holding is vested with the state and the agriculture in the state is conducted on contract farming basis. Ownership of land is not vested with the individuals.
- Women form a major part of the work force in agriculture in Malaysia.
- Major crops grown in Malaysia are plantation crops, and palm and rubber have a major share in plantation crops.
- Over the last six years period, production of rice has gone down while production in fruits and vegetables has increased, underlining the growth of the service sector, increasing urbanization and thereby preference over fruits and vegetables.
- Food trade balance is progressively declining.
- Difficult topography brought under cultivation of fruits and vegetables.
- Bioenergy vs., food productivity is a major challenge and this is one of the primary reasons why there is a perceptible decline in agriculture over last six years.
- Foreign labor is a critical cost component and contributory factor in decline in agriculture
- Agriculture policy is characterized by focus on 7 specific areas:
- High value agriculture crops
- Agri-based industries
- Youth Agro promotion programme is a major policy initiative where young entrepreneurs are encouraged to go back to their villages and opportunities are created at their door step by various interventions of the department.
- Animal feed is one area which has the potential for the Indian feed manufacturers to look for options to export it to Malaysia as this was underlined during the course of presentation by the subject matter expert.
- State agriculture department is the main player in the agri-business sector and it has facilitated in creation of agri value chains all over the country.
- It is characterized by development of cluster dynamics evident from the strawberry and cut flowers and exotic vegetable clusters which the state government has facilitated and which were seen during the course of the visit to Cameron Highlands
Cooperatives in Malaysia
- The cooperative movement started in Malaysia since 1922
- Since 1975, known as Department of Cooperative Development (DCD)
- Malaysia cooperative Societies Commission (MCSC) was established on 1st January 2008 and replaced DCD
- King of Malaysia has the power to appoint executive Chairman of MCSC
- Has 12 Board of Directors, among them, at least 2 shall be persons of having experience in cooperative movement.
- Government provides its own land on lease to farmers who innovate & experiment with new technology in farming – Replicable in India.
- MCSC has introduced system of Mentor and Mentee – Under this system, the strong cooperatives known as Mentors are given incentives to mentor and monitor the mentees i.e. weak cooperatives.
- Cooperatives work in close coordination with other agencies i.e. FAMA & MARDI – Improves Agriculture production and better returns for farmers.
Initiatives taken for Promotion of Agriculture
- Diversification : Palm, Melliponensis, High value vegetable crops, floriculture, fruits, tea (e.g. Lettuce, Celery, Durian, mushroom, Strawberries)
- Agri-Tourism: Cameron Highland
- Conservation of Biodiversity
- Youth in Agriculture
- Agri-preneurs: Small and Medium, Women Centric Enterprises
- Farmers institutions through Co-Operatives
- myGAP Certification
- Organic Farming/ Products
- Coordinate with key agencies
- Promotions at production end are well coordinated with different agencies, MOA, Cooperatives and MARDI which ensures good sustainable production practices resulting in higher yield, value addition through value chain development
- Promotion of Marketing by FAMA and also by FOA through support services extension (infrastructure and logistics)
- High value product promotion is performed by FAMA using multiple platform eg. trade fairs and exhibitions, promotion materials, trail shipments and advertisement, collaboration with private sector
- Marketing functions are performed by FAMA, NAFAS (Cooperative of Farmers Organization)
- Collaborative Programs with private companies for including SMF
- Launch of MYGAP (Malaysian Good Agricultural Practices )
- Change of mindset – Subsistence to Commercial
- Zero Wastage
- Value addition
- Women Dominant Workforce
- Infrastructure upgradation – Good Hygiene and Cleanliness
The program concluded with the Director of INFRA delivering the valedictory address and distributing the certificates .The participants expressed immense satisfaction on the learnings from the program.