MALACCA: The government will expand the aquaculture sector more aggressively as it contributes greatly to the country's economy.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government already had plans to develop the sector, including identifying areas across the country that could be turned into aquaculture industrial zones.
"There are already a few now, but it has huge potential to be developed into something bigger, not only for rearing shrimp and fish but also for processing fish-based products," he said after launching the 2009 National Farmers, Breeders and Fishermen's Day celebration at the Melaka International Trade Centre in Ayer Keroh yesterday.
Muhyiddin hoped those involved in the agricultural sector would grab the opportunities made available by the government through the Agricultural and Agro-based Industry Ministry to explore the aquaculture sector.
At the launch, Muhyiddin said efforts to remobilise the agricultural sector, particularly the agro-food sector, had already begun to show good results.
"If we look at it, the value of the agro-food export sector has increased from RM13.7 billion in 2007 to RM17.7 billion in 2008, an increase of 29.2 per cent, backed by the increase in processed products," he said.
He said this showed that the sector could rise again if given proper focus. To ensure the success of the agricultural sector, all parties including farmers, breeders, fishermen and the corporate sector, must be ready to face various global challenges.
Muhyiddin called on farmers, livestock breeders and fishermen to understand and practise the new agricultural concept of "the entire value chain" (an approach introduced in the Ninth Malaysia Plan) which was from the farm to the table, meaning the agricultural and agro-based industry sector needed to be developed in all aspects of the supply chain management.
He said the private sector involved in the agricultural sector needed to play a more active role so that its transformation from traditional agricultural me-thods to modern ones could be expedited. - NST.