MDEC partners CIMB to provide financing to catalyse digital agtech

KUALA LUMPUR : The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation () has teamed up with CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd to extend micro- opportunities to catalyse digital agriculture technology (digital agtech) in Malaysia.

In a statement today, MDEC said it inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with CIMB Islamic to extend an extensive micro-financing programme with an allocation of RM10 million as an initial funding package.

The allocation, it said, has the potential to be increased to RM25 million as the programme progresses.

In 2018, MDEC, via a public-private partnership with the Pertubuhan Peladang Kawasan Kuala Langat, initiated a pilot project to spur yield and quality of crops utilising the latest technologies.

MDEC said it has seen farmers adopting an Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled fertigation system that helped them reduce monthly fertiliser usage by 20%, lower monthly manpower requirements by 25% and increase the overall quality of yield (Grade A chillies) by up to 90%.

Through the MoU, CIMB Islamic will extend funding support and incentives to aid digital transformation of the agriculture sector through digital agtech adoption at scale, it said.

CIMB will also continue to support MDEC as well as to progressively collaborate with relevant industry partners to elevate the use of artificial intelligence (AI), IoT and big data analytics in farming.

It said the MoU will enable this initiative to go nationwide at scale, thereby contributing to the nation's food security and sovereignty.

In particular, it said the facility will lower the access barrier for Malaysian farmers to embark on the digitalisation journey and spur the growth of the agriculture sector for overall improvement, advancement and optimisation.

According to MDEC, current key digital agtech initiatives by MDEC, such as the eLadang programme, have successfully benefitted 548 participants as of December 2019.

Of this, 78 farmers have utilised digital farming technology, leading to a 20% increase in productivity and 30% income increment as well as a reduction in operating cost by 30%.

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