THE country’s agriculture and edible oil sector is expected to witness some competition from new technological breakthroughs that could also be the answer to food security issues that might crop up in the near future.
Revenue Compass Sdn Bhd business development head Nubli Ahmad Yasin said such technologies, which could transform ordinary material into food products, could also be a new source of revenue for new businesses.
For instance, Nubli said meat is being developed from non-poultry sources, while fossil-based fuel is slowly being phased out as land vehicles are making the shift to electric power.
He said food from plant sources is also being grown in various ways and methods, for example edible oil is being produced from alternative sources that are not plant-based.
“Technology has opened up a Pandora box of products and most of it is related to food — an ongoing issue as the global population increases, our food resources are slowly shrinking,” Nubli told The Malaysian Reserve recently.
He added that the agriculture and edible oil industry is at the forefront of the discussion, as smart farming and increased modernisation effort have been taking over the industry.
“The edible oil industry is at a crossroads now, and Malaysia will lose out in a big way if we do not develop an alternative market for palm olein.
“In view of the same challenges, the country’s agricultural products must also be prepared to diversify into other industries, such as the pharmaceutical or nutraceutical industry,” Nubli said.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed recently stated that the country’s agriculture remains an important element in the economy and more developments should be initiated to make the sector attractive.
Mustapa said the government also has plans in place to modernise agriculture and get more technologies to encourage young people to participate in the sector.
Nubli said technological development in an industry has its own pros and cons as most businesses these days are already dependent on technology in various ways, but at varying degrees of dependency.
He added that the user of technology will have to adapt and change, but ultimately the technology will be designed to suit their needs.
“If automation is unavoidable, then job functions will have to be reset and changed.
“Costs will be worked out accordingly, but traditional workplaces might slowly cease to exist if access to customers continued to be expanded into cyberspace,” he said.
Nubli also said while the new technologies are indeed going to replace and disrupt the traditional business, the impact will be mostly from the supply end.
He added that this will be, especially in the transaction and delivery end, in which it will contribute to the increased offerings in products and services, as well as quicker transaction of goods and money.
“When we mention technology, there are a few scopes and advantages to be aware of. Technology can be use to develop a certain process to reduce wastages and improve output and efficiency.
“At the same time, it can also be use to maximise transactions and reduce transaction times, as well as to maximise delivery areas and reduce delivery times,” Nubli said.
Other than the agriculture and edible oil sector, he said there are not much game-changing developments in other sectors in terms of technology.
He also noted that the country’s oil and gas sector has not developed anything new in the upstream activities in the last decade or so.
“Downstream activities have only seen the petrol stations being converted into a neighbourhood convenience store.
“Meanwhile, alternative energy sources are mostly leaning towards an electrical solution,” he added.