Seychelles, Malaysia explore potential for agricultural cooperation |03 February 2024
Seychelles and Malaysia look to further intensify cooperation for the development of the agricultural sector, through the provision of advanced technical help.
Yesterday, the honorary consul of Malaysia to Seychelles, Kabilan Muniandy, and his delegation, held a meeting with Seychelles’ principal secretary for agriculture, Keven Nancy, to offer his support to the sector and discuss areas of potential collaboration to achieve food security sustainably.
The meeting was held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment, at Kingsgate House, Victoria.
Also present were the principal secretary for youth and sports, Ralph Jean-Louis, the chairman of the board of the Seychelles Institute of Agriculture and Horticulture (SIAH) Jean Alcindor as well as other stakeholders.
Seychelles and Malaysia have a strong bilateral relationship, which has continuously helped to promote cooperation in different governmental sectors locally.
One of the objectives of yesterday’s meeting was to identify areas of collaboration with a focus on training of graduates from SIAH, and in-service training for staff of the agriculture department.
It was also discussed the donation of tissue culture and hydroponics equipment and set up of the research station and SIAH by Malaysian experts.
The delegations also talked about expert visits by professionals in the domain of hi-tech agriculture to ensure that local officers are equipped with the knowledge on the operation of the technology to offer long-term technical help.
The overall objective is to contribute to the modernisation of agriculture in Seychelles and increase the interest of youth in the sector – an initiative supported by Mr Muniandy who expressed his intention to ensure agriculture becomes sustainable and attractive to young people.
This will be done through various programmes and exchange visits with the Quest International University in Malaysia.
Mr Muniandy is on a working mission to Seychelles and prior to the meeting, he toured SIAH, the Anse Boileau research center, the soil and diagnostic laboratory and the animal and plant health laboratory in Grand Anse Mahe.
In an interview after the meeting, PS Nancy said the visit was organised so that the Malaysian experts could get a firsthand experience of Seychelles’ agricultural sector, and identify the needs, including the level of research and technology required to help increase production so as to cut down on importation.
PS Nancy added that Seychelles was looking towards engaging methods such as tissue culture and hydroponics. Farmers wishing to venture into those highly advanced farming methods and SIAH lecturers, will be trained in those farming techniques by experts from the Quest International University in May this year.
“Given that Seychelles has…… large surfaces for agriculture, we want to engage into these new technologies linked to increasing agricultural production and to do that we have to be innovative and use technology and science. We are pushing for any type of high-tech farming in the country through the use of technology as this is the way forward to make agriculture more sustainable,” PS Nancy said.
For his part, Nicholas Goh from Quest International University, said during his previous visits to Seychelles to recruit students for the university, they noticed, that the country imports a lot of things, among which were many agricultural products.
He noted that as a progressive university, they view Seychelles, the people and the government as partner in education and the students produced by the university must be able to solve society problems.
“As a tourist who comes to stay at the hotel, I can see that there is a lot of these vegetables which are ….local and they are all imported. We have a very strong biotech programme at the university, and since we have Seychellois students, we want to talk to the minister and others as to why not train them to come back and help the nation,” said Mr Goh.
Mr Goh said the delegation was happy with the discussion and was ready to play their part to make the country agriculturally sustainable and eventually cut down on importation.