Datuk Mohd Hasim Abdullah (Centre) stresses a point at one of the conference exhibition booths as MARDI Diractor-General Datuk Dr Abdul Shukor Abdul rahman (Front Leaf) and others listen. PHOTO:TH LU (NEW SARAWAK TRIBUNE)
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 10:53 Written by Harun Jau
KUCHING: The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries has proposed a 50:50 matching grant (up to a maximum of RM5,000) for every farmer to buy field machinery.
“We will ensure that all agriculture areas have access to machinery or equipment service providers, either through the Farmers’ Association or the private sector,” said its Secretary-General, Datuk Mohd Hashim Abdullah.
In his keynote addres s at the opening of the Nat ional Conference on Agriculture And Food Mechanisation (NCAFM) 2012 at Pullman Hotel here yesterday, Hashim said the Ministry would develop a computerised registration system in order to facilitate the review and auditing of agriculture machinery.
“Planting schedules will be coordinated to enable all farmers having the access to machinery in the field,” he said, adding that an endowment fund or hire purchase to enable farmers and entrepreneurs to own machinery through loans or installments would be established.
According to Hashim, incentives in the forms of subsidised diesel and petrol and tax relief would be provided to attract more farmers to own field machinery.
“We will also establish machinery maintenance centres that will be managed by Area Farmers’ Organisations (PPK) to assist farmers and contractors at relatively low (subsidised) charging rates or on installment basis,” he said.
He said all machineries owned by the private sector and farmers’ organisations would be registered to facilitate monitoring and auditing and this could be done with the assistance of the Road Transport Department.
Agrobank, he said, would also be asked to provide funding to enable more private sector participants and hence, increase the number of service providers.
Hashim said the Ministry would also enforce regulatory aspects in which every machine or equipment imported must be approved by a committee comprising the Ministry of Agriculture, JPJ and Customs.
He said that the efficient use of machinery and technology could reduce the cost of producing food in the country where labour is scare and getting costly.
He emphasised that Malaysian farmers and entrepreneurs must be prepared to accept the application of new technologies that are advanced and environmentally friendly.
“Utilisation of new technologies is necessary to assist the agriculture industry increase high quality food production with minimal cost,” he pointed out.
Hashim stressed that mechanisation inputs were essential in modern agriculture to overcome certain operational constraints such as low and inefficient work rates.
He explained that the National Farm Mechanisation and Automation Plan (NFMAP) was developed to determine the direction and set the targets for the adoption of mechanisation and automation technology in agriculture.
The Ministry has formed a special Committee on Mechanisation and Automation (SCOMA) to ensure compliance with the guidelines contained in the NFMAP.