The agriculture sector is important in the socio-economic development of the country. The agriculture sector, including industrial crops, is among the 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) to drive economic activities that have the potential of contributing significantly to the country’s economic growth.
The National Agrofood Policy (NAP) 2011-2020 has identified productivity-driven growth strategies that can guarantee sufficient food supply that is also safe for consumption, apart from being able to increase the income of farmers.
The structural changes and exposure of the Malaysian economy to globalisation alters the agriculture sector, which will continue to experience changes and competition from other sectors. These changes and competition are increasingly noticeable today and it is not easy to project the future environment of agriculture.
However, a few global and domestic mega trends that will influence the agriculture sector environment can be identified as follows:
The future and shape of environment of the country’s agriculture sector can be projected by understanding the guided variables and addressing issues that arise. Therefore, the curriculum of agricultural education needs to be proactively formulated and adapted to the mega trends so that agricultural education is relevant and in line with market demands. This is to ensure that trained workforce in the agriculture field meets the needs of the national agriculture sector so that efforts to improve the national agricultural productivity can be effectively implemented.
In addition, to ensure that agriculture graduates have a high interest in the agriculture field, student intake needs to be done through the interview method and not solely based on academic achievement.
One thing that is lacking in the agriculture sector is a highly qualified agri-entrepreneur. Only a very small number of agriculture graduates venture into the agri-entrepreneurship career. Therefore, efforts need to be enhanced to incorporate the agri-entrepreneurial characteristics into students who are interested and have the penchant for this career. Additional training such as the agri-entrepreneurship incubation programme offered at Universiti Putra Malaysia should be provided after graduation.
During incubation, participants are trained in agricultural business practices with an emphasis on the application of the business plan, management and marketing methods. As part of the training, participants are required to plan, finance and successfully manage a “start-up company”. Throughout the incubation programme, the participants receive guidance and mentorship from various experts at the university and private sector through a “mentor-mentee” programme, and the support from relevant government agencies.
In conclusion, agriculture education should produce manpower that:
|Prof. Datuk Dr. Mad Nasir Shamsudin
Faculty of Agriculture
Date of Input: 07/03/2018 | Updated: 07/03/2018 | hairul_nizam
University Community Transformation Centre (UCTC UPM), Industry and Community Engagement Building, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang Selangor Darul Ehsan