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Bio-PINTAR Blooms: First Shipment of Smart Indoor Farming Vegetables to Singapore on Course for RM5 Million in Annual Value

CYBERJAYA, 1 November 2023 – The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) announced the first shipment of smart indoor farmed vegetables produced under the Bio-PINTAR programme to Singapore, marking Malaysia’s latest achievement in advancing the Smart Indoor Farming initiative by infusing modern biotechnology applications in the agricultural sector as a solution for national food security. The Bio-PINTAR programme is funded under the 12th Malaysia Plan, with Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corporation (Bioeconomy Corporation) spearheading the programme since 2022. Under Bio-PINTAR, Bioeconomy Corporation has collaborated with its strategic partner and technology provider, MSD Innovation Sdn Bhd (MSDi), to develop the Smart Indoor Farming (SIF) model, which enables precision and improves agricultural production and sustainability.

MOSTI Minister, YB Chang Lih Kang, highlighted that the inaugural export of premium vegetables under Bio-PINTAR for the Singapore market resulted from Bioeconomy Corporation’s strategic matching of MSDi with Sustenir Agriculture (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, both of which are among the 115 companies under the Bio-Based Accelerator (BBA) programme. Bioeconomy Corporation guides and supports these two BBA companies in applying the SIF Bio-PINTAR model to produce and promote top-quality and pesticide-free fresh vegetables such as enriched, nutrient-dense Romaine and butterhead lettuces, kale, and other superfoods.

“In the initial phase beginning today, a first shipment of 4,000 vegetables will be delivered. This quantity will be increased in accordance with the business agreement between MSDi and its marketing collaboration partner in Singapore. The mutual goal of both parties is to meet a demand of 60 tonnes worth RM5 million per year,” stated YB Chang Lih Kang during his speech at the flag-off event held at MSDi’s headquarters here today. “This milestone is achieved through Bio-PINTAR’s innovative SIF model, integrating biotechnology, IoT, and cloud technology within a controlled environment. It adeptly tackles agricultural challenges like unpredictable weather, limited land and resources, as well as pesticide usage. It is a testament to Malaysia’s proven capacity to revolutionise agricultural production and our resolute commitment to ensuring national and international food security.”

Chief Executive Officer of Bioeconomy Corporation, En Mohd Khairul Fidzal Abdul Razak, said Bio-PINTAR highlights the importance of collaborating with biotechnology players in the private sector to not only increase food production and promote sustainable agricultural practices, but also to produce more active agropreneurs in Malaysia. “Bioeconomy Corporation firmly believes that Bio-PINTAR offers Malaysian agropreneurs the prime opportunity to access the thriving global indoor farming market, valued at USD38 billion in 2022 and projected to surpass USD55 billion by 2032. We intend to establish more cooperation with various parties under Bio-PINTAR, especially with BioNexus Status and BBA companies that can act as technology providers or raw material suppliers for the programme,” he added.

Chief Executive Officer of MSDi, En Mohd Tawfik Abdul Rahman said, “I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude to MOSTI, KPKM, and Bioeconomy Corporation for the opportunity to work together through the Bio-PINTAR programme. MSDi fully supports the Government’s aspiration in driving smart agriculture to contribute to the nation’s food security agenda. As local technology providers, we are committed to developing smart technology solutions based on IR4.0 technology, agricultural automation as well as intensifying R&D activities to reduce the operational costs of cooling and lighting systems for crops which are borne by smart agricultural operators in buildings.”
Bio-PINTAR is part of the R&D&C&I project as a result of a collaboration with the Agricultural Modernisation Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (KPKM) and is listed in the smart agriculture technology directory called DirekTANI on KPKM’s website. Bio-PINTAR’s objective is to showcase the successful implementation of SIF technology as well as to create awareness among the public to encourage technology uptake, especially by industry players and individuals in agriculture-related areas. SIF enables the production of high-quality produce all year round by bypassing external factors such as weather fluctuations and land scarcity. Bio-PINTAR is in line with Malaysia’s aspirations of transforming its agrofood sector to become more sustainable, resilient, and high-technology, as underlined in the National Biotechnology Policy 2.0, the National Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy 2021-2030, and the National Agrofood Policy 2021-2030. The programme also seeks to attract the youth’s interest and encourage their involvement, especially among those technologically inclined, to venture into the agriculture field. Bio-PINTAR aims to create an ecosystem that promotes the development of smart urban agriculture by establishing training programmes, tours, marketing, logistics, and access to online platforms.