Chang: Address food security issues by accelerating growth of biotechnology

PUTRAJAYA: The issue of food security in the country, which has become a priority, can be tackled by accelerating the growth of biotechnology, particularly in agro-biotechnology, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Chang Lih Kang.

He pointed out that Malaysia is not exempted from the mounting threat of escalating food insecurity, citing the 2022 Global Hunger Index where Malaysia's score showed a slight uptick from 10.9 in 2014 to 12.5 last year, an increase which he said likely stemmed from the Covid-19 pandemic.

He added that last year, there was a shortage of chicken in the country due to rising production expenses, disease outbreaks within the chicken population and unfavourable weather conditions while, recently, the country faced another food security challenge concerning the shortage of white rice.

Speaking at the National Biotechnology Symposium 2023 here today (November 8), Chang said the issue could be addressed by accelerating the growth of biotechnology, particularly in agro-biotechnology, with enhanced collaboration from various government agencies and the private sector.

"The escalating global population and intensifying pressures on agriculture due to climate change and resource limitations, thus, make food security an urgent concern.

"This concern has spurred a substantial demand for biotechnology to provide innovative solutions, enhance crop yields, bolster crop resilience, reduce post-harvest losses, improve soil quality and more," he said.

He said modern technology could provide new ways to boost crop production, make plants more resilient, and cut down on losses after harvest. – Bernama

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