Najib: Farmers, breeders and fishermen have to be progressive for better income

Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia.

KUANTAN - Farmers, breeders and fishermen have to be progressive in order to advance the agriculture industry and increase their income, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said agriculture industry players had to understand the world had changed and is heading towards a more challenging and competitive era.

He said the country was also facing the problem of an aging population in the agriculture sector with 80 per cent of those involved being 55-years-old and above.

"The increasing world population and even climate change are bringing a significant impact on food securities.

"If we continue using old techniques, maintain a static way of thinking and never change our application of technology, we will be stuck in a rut," Najib said before launching the National Farmers, Breeders and Fishermen's Day here on Saturday.

He added that such a way of life was not sustainable and was regressive.

"The theme of this celebration is 'Agrotechnology is the Catalyst to Agropreneur Transformation'. It is our noble intention to change the industry to be more progressive.

"Farmers should know that everything must change and thus they must also change their way of thinking," he said.

Najib said ways to do that was to use better seeds, advance research and development, use fertilisers that could guarantee an improving yield and the latest in technology.

"I have always stressed that producers must bring their products closer to the consumer market. As ordinary farmers, you can also show your abilities for innovation such as offering product and service differentiation," he said.

Offering value-added and attractive products could also bring about a leap in income, he said.

Najib said a paradigm shift for the sector must begin next year and to that end, the Government had proposed to set up an agro bazaar in Singapore to market Malaysian products as well as the establishment of the Food and Agro Council for Export.

"Even the Singapore prime minister loves Malaysian durians. That means our neighbour has a huge potential market.

"The Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority can collect products to be sold at the bazaar with significant revenue for farmers," said Najib, adding that he would promote the agro bazaar himself in Singapore and Hong Kong.