TRANSFORMING THE AGRICULTURE SECTOR INTO MODERN, DYNAMIC AND COMPETITIVE
Agriculture can be schematically recognized into the modernized and traditional agriculture. Modernized agriculture is categorised by agricultural techniques of production pervaded by industrial or modernized elements and values. It is founded on the most fertile soils of the rural areas. The modernized agriculture has reached high levels of productivity but it lacks in socio environmental terms. Modern agriculture has its own special features in production target, production means, and operation system and production modes. In the dynamic means, man and livestock dynamic power and handwork tools are traded by electric power and machines. Lately, automatization facilities, combination of agricultural machines and computers, satellite remote sensing are applied into agricultural production. Non-natural power in modern agriculture has changed the natural power that been trusted on by traditional agriculture.
Increased mechanization is one of the parts to transform agriculture sector into modern, dynamic and competitive. The objective of farm mechanization is to improve the overall productivity and production with the lowest cost of production. Besides that, it can dislocate unqualified farm labour and can cause environmental degradation such as pollution, deforestation and soil erosion. By increasing harvest outputs, mechanization means that farmers can move on from subsistence farming to market-oriented farming. By confirming that farming tools are environmentally complete, economically reasonable, adjustable to local conditions, and resistant in terms of changing weather patterns and climate, mechanization looks to reaching larger and better harvests and increased income or new jobs for farmers.
Next, agricultural program were carried out to modernized the sector and maximize the income of farmers. The programs are In-situ development, Integrated Agricultural Development Projects and Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation. In-situ development is effort by the government to increase productivity in existing agricultural areas such as included replanting, crop diversification and integrated agricultural development projects. Agricultural consolidation and rehabilitation programs were also applied under in-situ development to increase yield and productivity in the small holdings. Integrated agricultural development project is to regenerate and rehabilitate in-situ existing agricultural areas facing problems of low productivity, low income and high rate of poverty. Some integrated agricultural development project started as great large-scale irrigation projects aimed at increasing productivity and income farmers. Lands consolidation targets at consolidating enlarged fragmented and uneconomic holdings. FELCRA has been delivered to consolidate of unused government land, and rehabilitation of unsuccessful state-managed schemes.
Lastly, the modernization of the agriculture sector was promoted accelerated through developments in the delivery of agricultural support services. These services were delivered to encourage farmers to venture into commercial farming, adopt new technologies and increase productivity. These services included R&D, training, extension and support services as well as the providing of credit facilities and basic infrastructure. R&D activities were carried out to eliminate constraints in the agriculture sector, particularly low productivity and the shortage of labour. In the case of palm oil, the MPOB enhanced productivity through mechanization and the development of high-yielding dwarf oil palm. In addition, new products such as enhanced margarine and oil blends including products from the blending of palm oil with goat milk were developed. R&D activities undertaken by the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) focused on sustainable forest management and development of timber and non-timber forest products including medicinal plants.
In conclusion, Modernization and higher technology agriculture in Malaysia mostly focused on the strategies laid out during the eighth and ninth Malaysian Plan to increase the agriculture from the traditional to the efficient form of Agriculture, in line with the innovative in industry, technology and ICT. The livestock industry is being combined with commercialization of technology which dynamically adopting modern method and farming on large-scale basis. The thrust of agricultural development during the Eighth Plan period will remain to be guided by the NAP3 to become a modern, dynamic and competitive sector. While efficiency and productivity improvements will be attained through modernization and mechanization of agricultural activities as well as through the active participation of the private sector, effort will be given on food production to meet growing demand and reduce the import bill.