KUALA LUMPUR: In line with the new Agenda Hala Tuju Baru by the Ministry of Agriculture & Agro-based Industry (MOA), Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corporation Sdn Bhd (Bioeconomy Corp) is expanding the concept of BioNexus from the Healthcare Bio, BioIndustrial and AgBiotech sectors to the agricultural community. This coverage expansion will enable greater access to technology, fiscal incentives, facilitation and other guarantees to assist growth of the agricultural community such as crop, fishery and livestock farmers.
Encouraging individuals who are keen to apply for BioNexus status for their agriculture practices, Bioeconomy Corp Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Mohd Shuhaizam Mohd Zain said that they should participate in the BioUsahawan 2019, taking place at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on 15 and 16 March this year. With the aim to boost entrepreneurship, BioUsahawan 2019 provides a strategic platform for local entrepreneurs, start-ups, SMEs and companies to trade and promote their products and services, especially in the agro and bio-based sectors.
On Bioeconomy Corp’s role in facilitating the growth of agriculture and agro-based sector, Dr. Shuhaizam said that the event can contribute towards MOA’s target of ringing a RM900 million annual sale for entrepreneurs in the agro-based industry this year.
As the leading agency for the agro and bio-based industries in Malaysia, Dr. Shuhaizam said that Bioeconomy Corp is committed to not only facilitate better quality bio and agro-based products and services but also to enhance private investments in commercial agriculture, enhance market size and job creation especially for young agropreneurs, as well as the opening of bigger market for the local industries to thrive.
“We will be focusing on efforts in encouraging technology application to increase productivity in agricultural activities, especially for rice, aquaculture and feedstock, as well as to reduce dependency in agricultural input imports.
“There are currently about 283 BioNexus status companies, of which 56% are operating in the AgBiotech space, such as crop biotechnology, functional food, natural products, aquaculture and livestock. Some have built their niche locally and some are export ready. Through our expanded BioNexus Partners programme, farmers will be able to tap into the BioNexus network of agriculture equipment, technology and services, including biocosmeceutical, wellness, food technology, food safety, halal bioproducts as well as genomics bioinformatics for productivity enhancement and business optimisation,” he said.
On local consumers’ trust in locally produced bio-based products, Dr. Shuhaizam quoted a recent Bioeconomy Corp Survey which indicated that 60% of the urban population have purchased local bio-based products. He added that this figure is expected to increase to 80% thanks to BioUsahawan 2019.
When asked to rate the top three local bio-based categories that consumers would most likely purchase, over 70% of the respondents rated personal care products their first choice, healthcare products second, followed closely by food and beverage. When asked to vote for the driving factor for purchase decision, over 70% of the respondents voted “sufficient product information” as a top choice, followed by “quality” and “needs”. Dr. Shuhaizam said that entrepreneurs should take these factors into consideration and that BioUsahawan 2019 can provide an avenue for them to explore business growth opportunities.