NST: Sultan of Selangor launches UPM's 'Putra' branding initiative

KLANG: Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah launched Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)'s initiative to brand all its agricultural development and food security activities as 'Pertanian Untuk Rakyat' or Putra yesterday.

Sultan Sharafuddin, who is also the Chancellor of UPM, officiated the launch by signing a plaque that was brought in by a robot at Istana Alam Shah here.

When met by reporters, UPM vice-chancellor Datuk Prof Dr Ahmad Farhan Mohd Sadullah said, Putra symbolised UPM's significant contribution to empowering the agricultural sector and the university's commitment to advancing agriculture for the benefit of society.

"This rebranding raises public awareness that UPM, along with involved agencies, provides various training, education, and research programmes to local farmers that can contribute to improving livelihoods and economic development. In other words, through Putra, UPM will bring agriculture to the people," he said.

Ahmad Farhan said UPM was also actively collaborating with external agencies in initiatives such as the People's Income Initiative-Agro Entrepreneur (IPR-INTAN @ UPM) project, the Putra expansion programme by the University Community Transformation Centre (UCTC) and a conference discussing the food security agenda.

He said a group of researchers from the Institute of Tropical Agriculture and Food Security (ITAFoS) and the Faculty of Agriculture had harvested a new high-quality, drought-resistant variety of padi called Climate Ready (CR) on a large scale in Kampung Muring, Kota Bharu, Kelantan recently.

He said the effort was supported by the latest digital technology developments and artificial intelligence (AI), including plant stress detection using the DEEP-NDVI Model application.

Ahmad Farhan said UPM also implemented smart farming technology using AI accurate data, digital twin farming by Putra Science Park (PSP) and a water quality monitoring sensor system for the Siakap fish farm by the UPM International Institute of Aquaculture and Aquatic Science.

"These initiatives are aligned with the National Agrofood Policy 2012-2030 (DAN 2.0) to raise public awareness of the importance of food security and to emphasise UPM's significant role as an educational institution closely related to agriculture.

"The focus is to provide more opportunities for agricultural education sharing with the community to open up job opportunities and additional income for local communities," he said.

Ahmad Farhan stated that UPM collaborates with the Ex-Servicemen Affairs Corporation (Perhebat) through the Putra-Perhebat Agropreneur programme to uplift the socio-economic status of prospective retirees and veterans of the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF).

Apart from that, he said students at the UPM Faculty of Agriculture were consistently exposed to industry programmes such as the Graduate Agricultural Youth Development Incubator (Probest) programme funded by Agrobank.

In another development, Ahmad Farhan said UPM would launch the Food Security Blueprint this June as part of the university's efforts to realise the food security agenda in the country.

"The Blueprint will be a document providing guidance to those in UPM, specifically on what we can do in terms of education, development, research, extension work to the community, and industry, and how we can ensure the food security agenda is addressed," he said.

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