TANGKAK: Johor is set to become a major producer of bio-organically produced food which is made without the use of pesticides or chemicals.
Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said the state had allotted some 3,642ha of land near Desaru in Kota Tinggi for the project.
Called the Bio-Desaru Food Valley, it has attracted more than RM1.3bil in investments and is expected to be developed by 2020.
“The trend today is for food produced without any chemicals and we have started a project to produce agro-based products organically,” Abdul Ghani said when launching the state Agriculture Departments's entrepreneur programme in Serom Tiga here yesterday.
Abdul Ghani encouraged villagers to plant vegetables and cash crops, such as banana and tapioca, without using any pesticide.
He said the fertilisers should be free of chemicals too and villagers could either sell the produce or use it for their own consumption.
He said Johor had been a major producer of agro-based food products like chickens, eggs and beef and had even exported them to other countries.
He added that the state decided to go all out to develop the agro-based sector after the economic crisis hit the nation in 1998, forcing Johor to import food.
He said every Area Farmers Organisation in Johor was allocated land to undertake agro-based projects and the state had become a major producer.
“With demand for organic products increasing, we want villagers to get involved in the production of such crops,” he added.
SOURCE: THE STAR, FEBRUARY 16, 2013