Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Milking the future.

My latest research expedition brought me to far flung, long forgotten places that are resting in the dusty recesses of the economy - dairy farming.

Nutshell, we are only 12% self-sufficient when it comes to milk production.  What does that mean?  It means, if we were 100% self-sufficient, milk prices will come down and more people can drink more milk because it's more affordable.

It's quite scary to know that Malaysia lacks a strategy when it comes to food security.  We are too reliant on food imports which is why we're all hurting over our grocery bills today when the Ringgit plummeted.  Sometimes I wonder.  I really really wonder.  I wonder what else can the ministry do.  This is not a bashing post, and I don't doubt some people are really good at what they do.  But the question is what's next?  What's our best game plan in feeding 30 million mouths and counting? While Najib has moved on to the 11th Malaysia Plan, a quick search on the internet seems to me that the Ministry of Agriculture and Department of Veterinary Services are still stuck in the 9th!

Looks like all the attention is focused on building a knowledge-based economy that we have left our fundamental needs behind.  Many are quick to jump into an obvious conclusion - use agriculture to lift up the bottom 40 economy.  This is where we make a grave mistake of assuming poor people are meant to be farmers and urban folks are not.  That's a very strong social prejudice in this day and age, mind you.  In my books, it's equivalent to asking women to stay home.  Agricultural and farming technologies have evolved past mere livelihood to increase efficiency for better yield for better revenues for bigger markets for new economies.  You need someone who is savvy and trained and to a very large extent, passionate about about the job.  And no young urbanite today, likes a dirty job.

So perhaps, it would be wise for the government to consider attracting knowledge-based young entrepreneurs back into the agriculture sector to catapult it to its much needed and deserved growth.  Instead of just flogging dead horses, shoving expired KPIs into the shed and trying to attract those who have no will power to succeed nor excel to be part of their program.  It will bode well when we start with education, to inspire young minds to find success in farming. That this field deserves as much pride as your Silicon Valley-ish start-ups.  We need to look and scrutinize short, mid and long-term plans instead and it seems that there're A LOT to catch up.  Such bright future for us, if only the people at high places are more accounted for.

Got a related project or an idea?  Call me and let's discuss over a mug of milk.

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