As part of efforts to strengthen economic ties between Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, Malaysian companies present at the Malaysia Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai inked five multi-million dirhams worth of MoUs with UAE-based enterprises in a bid to spur sustainable agriculture between the two nations.
Dubbed as the highlight of the Malaysia Pavilion’s Sustainable Agriculture Week at the ongoing EXPO 2020 Dubai, the partnerships formalised with the exchange of MoUs at the programme’s launch today will help Malaysia to promote and expand its potential in sustainable agriculture by establishing strong engagement and strategic partnerships with the UAE and other global players.
The Malaysian companies also exchanged three other MoUs with companies from Egypt, Germany, and Maldives bringing the total number of MoUs to eight, all worth over AED173 million (MYR 197 million) in potential trade and business opportunities.
According to the Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries Malaysia (MAFI), Datuk Seri Dr. Ronald Kiandee, the MoUs include extensive cooperation in research and development, trade and distribution, market access, commercial activities, investments, technology transfer, as well as sales and marketing of products and services.
This, according to the Minister, will significantly boost the Malaysian government’s sustainable agriculture efforts as well as contribute towards combating climate change.
Key areas of focus outlined in the MoUs include Biodiversity to wellness, fruits of the tropical land and its byproducts, smart urban farming, smart farming solutions and waste-to-wealth. Special focus will also be given to culinary sustainability, cutting-edge agricultural technologies and solutions, and investment opportunities for agricultural sustainability.
The week-long event, which kicks off from Monday, February 21st to Friday, February 26th, 2022, is expected to attract over 2,000 visitors and delegates. With over 20 Malaysian companies and organizations taking part, the event also aims to attract global collaborations and knowledge-sharing platforms for creating new opportunities and fresh solutions to address issues like COVID-19, poverty and climate change through sustainable agriculture.
Dato’ Mohd Tarid bin Sufian, Malaysia Ambassador to The United Arab Emirates said while delivering the keynote address on behalf of the Minister: “Malaysia has been at the forefront of seeking sustainable solutions that address the prevalent bottlenecks in food production, safety, and security. Malaysia’s Sustainable Agriculture Week at EXPO 2020 Dubai is an important initiative that will spur and enhance investment and collaboration opportunities in sustainable agriculture and also fuel the fight against climate change. We believe that UAE’s commitment to innovative thinking and sustainable development in key areas of focus will complement Malaysia’s direction towards technology adoption and modernisation in sustainable agriculture.”
During the much-awaited event, Malaysian companies will also launch and showcase some of their most sought-after agricultural products and services as well as use the platform to break into the regional market using the UAE as a gateway.
Strengthening UAE, Malaysia ties
Malaysia’s thriving research and development, talented youthful workforce, and empowerment opportunities for its agriculture workers are some of the value-driven aspects that the UAE and other partners can build on to add to their existing strengths and capabilities.
Historically, the UAE has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner in the Middle East with total trade between the two nations exceeding US$6 billion in 2019. According to Kiandee, the UAE still remains Malaysia’s preferred agricultural trading partner largely due to its status as the international trade and financial hub for the Middle East and North Africa region.
“It is evident that due to its growing popularity and influence in the trade and financial sectors in the region, the UAE stands out as an important partner for Malaysia. Our cooperation and partnership will help Malaysian agricultural producers to easily access new markets in sustainable agriculture not just in the UAE but in the entire Middle East region. On its part, Malaysia will also serve as the gateway for UAE products and services in Southeast Asia,” noted Kiandee.
The Malaysian sustainable agricultural strategy is anchored on its Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 and MAFI’s National Agrofood Policy 2.0 of 2021-2030 which collectively emphasises the adoption of new technologies and digitalisation in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
As part of this strategy and policy formulation, Malaysia is also seeking to adopt new-age mechanisation and automation in an effort to boost its agricultural productivity, system support, services, and to strengthen food value chains that directly contribute to the sustainability of its food system.
Senator Datuk Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid, Chairman of Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corporation (Bioeconomy Corporation said: “As the implementing agency for Sustainable Agriculture Week, Bioeconomy Corporation strongly promotes adoption of technological innovations especially those related to bio-based and biotechnology, which support and grow sustainable agriculture in Malaysia. Dubai has been at the forefront of adopting such value-driven technologies including hydroponic technology and vertical farming to boost its fruits and vegetable production. This is the direction that Malaysia is getting ready to take on more actively to enhance its agricultural productivity and most importantly, to open up more opportunities to access new healthy and sustainable-based products for Malaysia and UAE.”
The Sustainable Agriculture Week is one of the 26 weekly trade and business programmes hosted by Malaysia Pavilion. The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Malaysia is the lead ministry for Malaysia’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai with Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Corporation as implementing agency.