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MDEC and CIMB Islamic to Digitally Transform the Agriculture Sector
April 5, 2021 News


IoT and AI can do many things. Just like in other industries, these game-changing technologies are accelerating the agriculture sector. They bring much-needed efficiency, reliability and preciseness to an industry that usually takes a very long time to evolve. The usage of such systems can uplift not just traditional farming, but other modern types of farming such as organic farming or vertical farming as well, enhancing transparency in farm decision-making.

The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and CIMB Islamic Bank Berhad recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to extend an extensive micro-financing programme with an allocation of RM 25 million as an initial funding package to catalyse digital agriculture technology (Digital Agtech) in Malaysia.

MDEC has been partnering with the Pertubuhan Peladang Kawasan Kuala Langat (PPKKL) and initiated a pilot project in 2018 to spur yield and quality of crops using the latest disruptive technologies. Since farmers adopted the IoT-enabled fertigation systems, it has helped them reduce monthly fertiliser usage by 20%, lower monthly workforce requirements by 25% and increase the overall quality of yield (Grade A chilis) by up to 90%.

During the MOU signing ceremony, YB Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah, Malaysia’s Minister of Communications and Multimedia, further explained how going digital in 2020 was a major factor for businesses – especially those in agriculture. He added that this is a big milestone for MDEC and CIMB Islamic as they were able to provide farmers access to next-gen technologies like AI, IoT and Big Data Analytics (BDA).

“Now, this sector can quickly adopt digital technologies as part of Malaysia’s drive to propel forward the digital economy aligned with MyDIGITAL. This collaboration is the next step to digitally transform the agriculture sector on a national level”, said YB Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah.

The MOU marks a new chapter in MDEC’s strategy to push agricultural innovation and encourage the adoption of the latest digital methods, like AI, IoT and big data optimisation, to increase crop yield and quality. With the expansion of digital technologies in the agriculture sector, an estimated 30% increase in job opportunities will be created by 2025.

Adding on to the conversation, YB Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee, Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries, mentioned that the collaboration between MDEC and CIMB Islamic will encourage more youngsters to look to this field and form the next crop of entrepreneurs in Malaysia’s agricultural industry.

YB Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said, “The support enables farmers to go digital and further reinforces the potential opportunities that the agriculture [sector] offers, especially with talent-upskilling and digital growth. This is certainly complementary with the Agrofood Value Chain Modernisation Programme that had been introduced in Budget 2021”.

This public-private collaboration also marks another impressive milestone in bringing digital empowerment to the Malaysian economy. The latest advancements from AI, IoT and BDA helps build a vibrant AgTech ecosystem to increase productivity, increase farmers’ income and make farming exciting for the youths.

“This also ensures we safeguard our food security, safety and sovereignty, alleviating our reliance on food importations. With the partnership with CIMB Islamic, we can bring this initiative nationwide and immediately modernise our agriculture sector and create opportunities for many in line with the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL) and Malaysia 5.0”, said Datuk Wira Dr Hj. Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff, Chairman of MDEC.

Ahmad Shahriman Mohd Shariff, CEO, CIMB Islamic, who was also present during the ceremony, mentioned that with the usage of technology, they are able to help farmers to succeed with Digital AgTech. The collaboration with MDEC will further bring the industry’s effectiveness to youths who will be the farmer-preneurs of tomorrow, boosting the future prospects of Malaysia’s agriculture sector.

“The execution of the programme captures the larger CIMB group’s spirit of innovation and harnessing digitalisation whilst also prioritising Value-Based Intermediation (VBI) through practices that generate a positive and sustainable impact on the economy, community and environment”, said Ahmad Shahriman Mohd Shariff.

Through this partnership, MDEC and CIMB Islamic will continue to advocate and validate digitalisation across the agriculture sector.