The opening ceremony was officiated by the Kedah State Executive Councillor, Yang Berhormat Dato' Suraya Yaacob cum State Women Development, Welfare Services, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Committee Chairman at the TH Hotel last night.
Dato' Suraya said in her speech that the conference was held in line with the State Government's intention to elevate Kedah Organics to increase the cultivation of organic food for environmental sustainability in the state.
According to her, based on the 2015-2020 Organic Farming Development Direction, two per cent which is equivalent to 2,548 hectares of food growing areas in the state of Kedah will be allocated for the Kedah Organics initiatives.
"As we are well aware, SRI helps farmers at every stage of the chain production to ensure there is increase in the farmers’ and state government’s income, moreover with the participation of the public at all levels will open up opportunities for them to generate new sources and more lucrative income.
"In addition, SRI which is centred on the organic cultivation of food, will certainly contribute to national food security, which emphasises on the nutritional quality because organically grown food is safer and individuals or communities are encouraged to plant or cultivate organically grown food," he said.
She added that the four-day conference is expected to provide knowledge to all parties to begin initiatives towards long-term organic farming.
Southeast Asian Regional Conference with its apt theme 'Innovating Shared Values' aims to discuss issues and challenges faced by SRI as well as the latest developments of SRI in Southeast Asia with the participation of more than 150 participants consisting of farmers, professionals, academics, researchers, consultants, government officials and students both locally as well as internationally.
President of SRI-Mas, Prof. Dr. Wan Mohtar Wan Yusoff said that the purpose of the conference is to explore a variety of technological innovations, social and business acquired by or created from SRI.
He said that in addition, the conference also aims to raise awareness about SRI market potential and innovative products and services made available, encourage regional networks in developing SRI rice trade, thereby highlighting the integration of SRI in sustainable development policies at the national, regional and international levels.
In addition to forums, participants also visited the SRI-Lovely in Sik to witness the process of producing organic rice using SRI.
Also present were the Chairman of the South East Asian Regional Conference 2015, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Siti Norezam Othman; the Dean of STML UUM, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Shahimi Mokhtar and UUM senior officials.
Translated by Mahaliza Mahadhir
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