KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 20): The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) has introduced the Food Security Sandbox, a collaboration between the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) and the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA), to
address food security challenges facing the country.
Food security has always been a pressing issue globally and Malaysia is no exception, as seen when the country faced a chicken shortage due to rising production expenses, disease outbreaks within the chicken population and unfavourable weather conditions, said its Minister
Chang Lih Kang.
While the government managed to mitigate the issue through a series of interventions, Chang said there is still a need to be vigilant and plan for food security.
“The Food Security Sandbox offers startups in the food security sector, be it in the technological fields of agriculture, drone, variable rate technology, global positioning systems, geographical information systems (GIS) or Internet of Things (IOT), to access the test sites which are located in Pendang, Kedah and Chuping, Perlis with a 100-hectare land, and additional funding to accelerate their innovations to commercialisation,” said Chang during its launch at the Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation’s (MRANTI) flagship I-Nation conference on Monday.
Through the initiative, Chang said the parties hope to raise the national self-sufficiency level for local food production; increase productivity, yield and revenue in the agriculture industry; and reduce labour costs and manpower needed amid a labour shortage in the agriculture sector.
The initiative also has the potential to reduce farm input price and overall operation cost and environmental sustainability, by reducing the ecological footprint of farming.
MRANTI has been the lead secretariat, said Chang, and this year to date, NTIS has received 266 applications related to dronetech, fourth industrial revolution (4IR) technologies, agritech, and health and medtech, with more than RM76 million of funding assistance approved.
“MRANTI, as the tech commercialisation accelerator in Malaysia, is mandated to unlock the commercial potential of technological and innovative products at an accelerated rate.
“This in turn creates more revenue streams for the national economy and at the same time, creates high-skilled employment opportunities and higher per capita earnings, supporting Malaysia in achieving our ambitions to be a high-income nation via an innovation-driven
“By grasping emerging tech and advanced tech, we can make a profound impact on, not only society, but also making our planet earth a better place to live in. We need to converge innovation and sustainability, while shaping a future where technology catalyses positive
change, aligned with the sustainable development goals,” the minister added.