Off to a roaring start, The Malaysian Agriculture, Horticulture and Agro-tourism Exhibition (MAHA) 2022 was akin to a long-awaited reunion with an old friend.
Thousands of Malaysians, most braving the rain and traffic jams, who gathered at the grounds as early as 8am of the Malaysian Agro Exposition Park (MAEPS) in Serdang over the last three days, keenly waited to partake in the many of the attractions at MAHA 2022 considering that it was last held in 2018. It could not be held in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pensioner Abdul Majid Jamaludin, 63, said he arrived with his wife and children from Puchong to look for saplings to plant in his homestead in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan, adding, MAHA is an event that we must visit as for many retirees like myself, time is spent gardening.
“I have never seen such a large crowd on the first day, as it’s a Thursday (Aug 4), am sure it will increase over the weekend,” he told Kosmo on the exhibition’s opening day.
Azhar Mat Noor, 59, who came with his wife, said: “My family and I do not miss the opportunity to visit MAHA as many products and crops can be obtained at reasonable prices. It’s also a chance for us to learn something new, especially for the youth in Malaysia.”
He added, one day is not enough to visit all the stalls here and is planning another visit in the days to come.
These sentiments were only the tip of the iceberg as many walked away from MAHA with fond memories, while learning many aspects of agriculture, yet again.
The extensive number of colourful stalls, exhibits and sites at MAHA 2022 highlights the importance of agriculture, food security for the nation and new innovations in the industry at a single venue.
The Vegetable and Herb Agro-Food Site emphasises the concept of commercial vegetable production and urban agriculture based on the application of technology developed by the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi).
Mardi Horticulture Research Centre director Dr Zulhazmi Sayuti said it included plant factory technology for the production of all-year round high-value vegetables, which was developed through Mardi’s research and development.
“This technology is a system of vegetable production in a closed and controlled structure, without the plant being affected by changes in the weather that can affect yield, quality, as well as pest and disease attacks, which is capable of increasing yields four to 10 times per unit of space compared to conventional cultivation methods,” he told Bernama.
Visitors also made a beeline to get their hands on saplings of the famous Raub Musang King durian at a stall since the first day.
Padli Shamsuddin, one the many exhibitors at MAHA 2022 said he brought over 50 types of durian saplings to be sold but many of the visitors made a dash for the Musang King durian “which everyone knows is top in Malaysia.”
The 31-year-old told Bernama at his Castle of Fruit booth that he has already sold almost 100 saplings merely hours after the site was opened.
Visitor Mohd Azhan Azman, 24, said he was excited to be able to find rare durian species to plant in his kampung in Tawau, Sabah.
“I bought the Lin Feng Jiao or Udang Merah, MDUR 79, Chanee and Tok Merah which just cost about RM300,” said the Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia law student.
Many who have the knack for farming headed to the Agro Food Nanas site or Laman Nanas at which the Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board (LPNM) are sharing knowledge on pineapple farming with visitors.
The site highlights the methods used for pineapple planting involving the seven varieties grown in the country while visitors will also be taught on how to determine the age of a pineapple tree.
At this year’s edition, the board would showcase an innovative pineapple farming method carried out at night.
Among the many attractions, visitors will get to see a rice harvesting simulation, being featured for the first time.
Farmers Organisation Board (LPP) director (Engineering Division) Zaipudin Mohamad said the Combine Harvester Simulator was provided to allow visitors to experience harvesting rice by operating the machine.
“It’s like doing a flight simulation. It gives visitors a virtual experience of operating a harvesting machine in the rice field, just like doing it in the padi field.
He added seven classic machines were also being displayed by LPP at the Mini Machinery Museum to enable visitors to get to have a closer look at the agricultural equipment used by farmers in the era between 1905 and 1957.
The list of attractions at MAHA 2022 continue.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who officiated MAHA 2022 yesterday, said the expo was of utmost importance towards strengthening the country’s food security at a time when the nation is facing various challenges in addition to driving recovery of the agro-food sector and help agricultural entrepreneurs generate a source of income.
Ismail Sabri added under the 12th Malaysia Plan (RMKe 12), the agro-food sector is expected to grow at a rate of 4.5 percent per year thus making this sector a major contributor to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Echoing this call, Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee (pic) said modernisation and smart agriculture are the key game changers to transform the agro-food sector under the National Agro-food Policy 2021-2030 (DAN 2.0) which focuses on new approaches based on modern technology and sustainable development in line with Industry Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.
MAHA 2022 is the largest and most prestigious agricultural exhibition featuring as many as 1,500 exhibition stalls. A total of eight sites are provided, among them agriculture and animal lots with 22 segments featuring their own attractions.
The expo is based on main thrust of the National Agrofood Policy 2021-2030 on the premise of the future efficient and resilient food system has the potential to increase income to food producers along the food chain as well as be able to provide nutritious and affordable food in line with the core pillar of the National Food Security framework.
The 2022 edition of the biennial MAHA 2022 event aims at promoting agriculture and agro-based industries. This premier agro fair showcases all the different components and the various efforts undertaken by government agencies as well as presenting numerous business opportunities offered by this fast-growing industry.
Among the many highlights of MAHA 2022 are the ecosystem of agriculture which consists of input suppliers, farming companies, traders, processors, distributors logistics & consumers, other industry adjacent business, data device and analytics, automation and machinery and software and technologies that interrelated among each other.
In addition, the event will be introducing the first “Hybrid” event concept where live and virtual platforms events are both combined. MAHA 2022, which takes place over 10 days at MAEPS ends on Aug 14.