Interest in farming is seeing a revival, we can observe the many urban centres with little land spots are being turned into mini orchards. Technology is making modern farming more enticing for the younger generation to dip their feet into, noticeable with trends cropping up across the Western world with themes like farm to table and organic farming. A highly lucrative venture with demand surging exacerbated by the pandemic, farming is no longer seen as unsexy or dirty but a vital source to secure a country’s food supply.
Selangor state government keen to tap into this growing trend and has developed a program that invites young entrepreneurs to take up farming as a very viable business. To encourage interested parties and show its seriousness, the state government is committed to develop 2,000 acres of modern agricultural farms a year for this purpose.
Noting that older models of giving land and funding does not work, the new approach however will be different. Farmers who have been approved for the program, upon receiving the land and funding will also be trained by experts who themselves will be cultivating a bigger portion of the land.
How this works is the big companies will have to now guide the small entrepreneur from the agricultural development aspect as part of their responsibilities. For example, company A has the expertise to plant and export bananas, the State will give 100 acres, out of which 70 acres will be managed by the company and the remaining 30 acres to be distributed to the new farmer. The big company is now responsible for guiding them (new farmers) from the beginning on the method to seed, plant, fertilisation, pest control and then buy their products for exports.
The new approach is aimed to provide better result compared to giving them money and land which the farmer needs to work on independently, leading to the low success rate in the old approach.
Currently a 30 acres project in Bukit Changgang and a 120 acres project in Sungai Air Tawar is under way along with a project in Sungai Panjang under the Smart Selangor Agro Park programme which involves collaboration from big industry players.
The food security programme is among the 25 initiatives included in the Kita Selangor 2.0 Package with a focus to boost the agro-food sector, supply chain efficiency and produce 1,000 agropreneur in five years. Under this programme entrepreneurs will be provided with land, rolling capital as well as guidance to attract them to venture in agro industry.