The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and CIMB Islamic has inked a deal to expand a microfinancing programme aimed at helping farmers embrace digitalisation. The programme will have an initial funding of RM10 million.
The origins of this initiative is related to the public-private partnership that MDEC earlier entered into with Pertubuhan Peladang Kawasan Kuala Langat (PPKKL). They have launched a pilot project in 2018 that saw farmers adopting an Internet of Things (IOT)-enabled fertigation system.
According to MDEC, monthly fertiliser usage fell by 20% and monthly manpower requirements by 25% while the overall yield quality (Grade A chillies) increased by up to 90%.
“[T]hrough our pilot project, crop yield has seen a 22% quality improvement and an overall reduction of operations cost by 30%. Income has also seen a 33% hike,” said MDEC chairman Rais Hussin.
The MoU signed by MDEC with CIMB Islamic today will now expand that initiative nationwide. MDEC said that it would lower the access barrier for farmers wanting to digitalise while contributing to Malaysia’s food security.
The government agency is a big believer in using digital tools to increase crop yield and quality, as well as the income of farmers. It’s also eager to entice more young people into the agricultural business, noting that 70% of the 548 participants who were trained through its eLadang pilot project up to December 2019 were below the age of 40.
MDEC’s collaboration with CIMB Islamic will have an initial group of 500 participating farmers.