A new technology-driven agro-food ecosystem, the FarmByte Food Hub, has been established to consolidate and build the resilience of the agro-food sector, increase agricultural output, and uplift the livelihoods of farmers and the wider community in Johor, Malaysia.
Developed by FarmByte, a subsidiary of Kulim Berhad, the FarmByte Food Hub aims to transform Johor’s agro-food sector through its digital-first approach as part of Johor Corporation’s vision to strengthen food security both at the state and national levels.
Located in Ulu Tiram, the FarmByte Food Hub was officially launched by the Chairman of the Agriculture, Agro-based Industry and Rural Development Committee, YB Dato’ Zahari Sarip as the official representative of YAB Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi, Menteri Besar Johor.
Datuk Syed Mohamed Syed Ibrahim, president and chief executive of JCorp, who is also the chairman of FarmByte, said the newly-launched FarmByte Food Hub will further bolster Johor’s food supply chains and create a sustainable agro-food ecosystem that will contribute to the national and state food security agenda.
“The FarmByte Food Hub will allow for the sustainable production of high-quality and high-value agro-food products. Through digitalisation and innovation, it will also help uplift the livelihoods and standards of living of our smallholder farmers, while encouraging the participation of the younger generation in the agro-food sector. It is a key part of the state’s strategy to develop a sustainable agro-food industry that can compete at the international level in terms of production and product efficiency and quality,” said Datuk Syed Mohamed.
At the heart of the FarmByte Food Hub is a fully networked ecosystem of farmers, processors, distributors, retailers, and wholesalers — all connected via a hybrid setting of physical and digital hubs. This seeks to integrate all the activities throughout the value chain — from production to distribution — while creating efficiencies, transparency, and trust.
To meet the expected increase in production, a new collection processing packaging centre (CPPC) and two new collection distribution centres will be built by FarmByte.
Datuk Syed Mohamed shared FarmByte will use innovative technology as an enabler to equip farmers with simple digital tools, market intelligence, and real-time production schedules to allow them to navigate the currently fragmented agro-food sector seamlessly and accelerate their growth.
“Our mobile app, for instance, provides farmers with access to personalised advice and analytics and helps to expand their knowledge of expert farming practices.”
One of the farmers in the trial, Yusaini Ali, who owns 6.3 hectares in Felda Ulu Tebrau, said many smallholders struggle to navigate the complex agro-food business: “Until now, many smallholder farmers like me have relied on experience and the limited market knowledge we have as to what we produce for market and when it will be ready. Being part of the FarmByte Food Hub will give us certainty about what to plant and when demand will be highest so we can get the best price.”
“The tools and analytics provided will enable us to maximise our production and make our businesses more efficient. It will enhance our farming skills and knowledge and make us even better farmers,” Yusaini Ali concluded.