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Launch of Biotech-Produced Freshwater Prawns & Bentong Ginger-Honey at MAHA 2022 to Increase Sustainability, Add High Value to Malaysia’s Food Security

Serdang, 10 August 2022 – The official launch of M’Ros brand of Malaysian giant freshwater prawn broodstock by BioNexus Status company GK Aqua Sdn Bhd (GK Aqua), as well as a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and Bentong ginger honey product launch by Bio-based Accelerator (BBA) company Tamara Nanoetech Sdn Bhd (Tamara Nanoetech) were held today during the Malaysia Agriculture, Horticulture & Agrotourism 2022 (MAHA 2022) at MAEPS. Supported by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) with facilitation from Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corporation (Bioeconomy Corporation), the launch and MoU were part of the agro technology cluster at MAHA 2022 to highlight the contribution of biotechnology and bio-based technologies in adding-value and improving sustainability for Malaysia’s food security. MAFI Minister, YB Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee witnessed both events.

GK Aqua produces giant freshwater prawn broodstock using biotechnology tools with selective breeding from indigenous lines in Sungai Perak and Sungai Rompin. Through this official M’Ros brand launch, hatcheries are able to source disease-free and sustainably produced broodstock, and are able to supply quality post-larvae giant freshwater prawns with faster growth rate and harvesting cycle. Currently GK Aqua’s six-acre facility produces 5,000 pieces of broodstock per year but this launch enables them to scale up to at least 10,000 pieces per year. This faster production will also cater to the high demand for giant freshwater prawns, which stands at over 3,000MT annually, as opposed to Malaysian production of 300MT annually. During the M’Ros launch, Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee handed the M’Ros broodstock to a hatchery owner from Perak, En Tarmizi, for him to sustainably produce validated and quality post-larvae freshwater prawns for the aquaculture industry. Other hatchery owners in Negeri Sembilan and Johor will also receive the M’Ros broodstock from GK Aqua.

Meanwhile, the MoU exchange between Tamara Nanoetech and tualang honey producer, Nahrich Honey Resources marked their formal collaboration to co-develop and market value-added products from Bentong ginger and honey. Both parties also launched Bentong Ginger Infused with Tualang Honey product, formulated using freeze-dried Bentong ginger by Tamara Nanoetech and Nahrich’s Tualang honey. Using modern cultivation methods and sustainable integrated farming to source Bentong ginger, Tamara Nanoetech’s freeze-dried ginger formulation ensures optimal nutritional value and two-year shelf life. The collaboration and launch are expected to reduce ginger import and increase the self-sufficiency ratio (SSR) for ginger in Malaysia, which currently stands at 18.9%.

Chairman of Bioeconomy Corporation, Senator YB Datuk Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid said the collaboration and launches will potentially open up more job opportunities and improve skill-sets and technological know-how to create a more sustainable ecosystem in the aquaculture and agriculture sectors. “Bioeconomy Corporation will continue to support and champion biotechnology and bio-based innovation and entrepreneurship to improve and add high value to Malaysia’s food security. We are working with GK Aqua to further strengthen the ecosystem for the giant freshwater prawn industry in sustainable ways, starting from broodstock hatchery to grow-out. We will also further facilitate Tamara Nanoetech and Nahrich Honey in getting the necessary recognition and approval to gain better market access for their value-added products,” he added.

GK Aqua was also the recipient of the Aquaculture Leader Award at the Agro Award MAHA 2022 in conjunction with the event’s official opening ceremony by the Prime Minister on 6 August 2022. Chief Executive Officer and founder of GK Aqua, Mr Giva Kuppusamy said, “We would like to thank MAFI, whose agencies such as Bioeconomy Corporation and the Department of Fisheries Malaysia, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), and Cradle who have been instrumental to where we are today and continue to support us and the industry in driving Malaysia’s innovation and security in the food, feed and sustainability policies.” Director of Tamara Nanoetech, Mr Syakur bin Dato’ Mohd Suhaimi stated, “Both Tamara Nanoetech and Nahrich Honey are very grateful to Bioeconomy Corporation for their concerted effort in strengthening the industry ecosystem through collaborations like this.  We hope to further embark on more collaborations with other industry experts to further boost our product base and value.”