CABI CEO, Dr Daniel Elger, has paid a visit to Malaysia – a Member Country of CABI – and Singapore to further strengthen existing partnerships, build new linkages and explore fresh opportunities to support food security and sustainable trade in the region.

Dr Elger joined staff from CABI’s regional centre in Malaysia to meet with government, public and private sector partners and discuss how CABI is helping smallholder farmers sustainably tackle pests and diseases on crops including rice, maize, sweet potato, coffee, peppercorn, and coconut.

The visit was also an opportunity to review other significant work in value chains and trade, development communication and extension, digital development, and knowledge management.

Dr Feng Zhang, Regional Director for CABI East & South-East Asia, welcomed Dr Elger and both men joined centre colleagues for talks with officials from Malaysia’s Department of Agriculture (DOA), the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), and the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB).

Enhancing and strengthening relationships

The CABI party also visited the EU Delegation to Malaysia and met with partners from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ARISE + Malaysia project funded by the EU and International Tade Centre (ITC) Trust Fund – which aims to support inclusive and sustainable economic growth in Malaysia.

Dr Elger and Dr Zhang also paid a visit to Universiti Putra Malaysia to discuss areas of common interest in research and knowledge sharing.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, Dr Elger and Dr Zhang met with partners at the agribusiness Olam Agri as well as CropLife Asia, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the multi-stakeholder partnership platform Grow Asia.

These partnerships have been built through an ADB funded sustainable coffee value chain project in Vietnam, a USDA funded ASEAN regional MRL project, and activities under the ASEAN Fall Army Worm Action Plan.

The visit by Dr Elger followed the recent strengthening of CABI’s partnership with the International Coconut Community (ICC) through a renewed Memorandum of Understanding designed to support the sustainable development of the coconut sector in Asia, the Pacific, Caribbean, Africa, and South America.

Research and development in areas of mutual interest

Dr Elger’s visit also came after CABI in July last year renewed its agreement to work in partnership with the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) to help ensure greater food security in Malaysia through a Joint Laboratory platform – conducting research and development in areas of mutual interest.

This includes CABI and MARDI working to reduce the use of chemical pesticides and support the use of safer-to-use and environmentally-friendly bioprotection products to fight crop pests and diseases such as the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), diamondback moth, and stemborers and leaf-feeders of rice.

CABI also opened an office in September 2023 in Hanoi, Vietnam, as part of a collaboration with the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS) to help strengthen food security and development of a sustainable food system in the country.

CABI’s work in partnership is wide-ranging

Dr Elger said, “CABI recognises that it is only by working in partnership that we can create more sustainable production techniques and resilient commodity chains, as well as wider access to tools and knowledge.

“Central to this is our continued collaboration with a wide range of partners to ensure that the very latest research can be applied to support smallholder farmers to grow more and lose less to potentially devastating crop pests and diseases.”

The visit to Malaysia and Singapore concluded with a commitment from CABI to support Malaysia in delivering its national development goals and regional and international UN targets including the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This includes building the CABI regional centre in Malaysia as a regional hub for South East Asia and the South Pacific, supported by a network of project offices in key Member Countries in the region.

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Dr Daniel Elger (centre) and Dr Feng Zhang (left of centre) met with Prof Loh Tech Chwen (right of centre), Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, and colleagues from the Universiti Putra Malaysia.

Additional information

Main image: Dr Daniel Elger (centre) met with Ts. Mohammad Nazrul Fahmi bin Abdul Rahim (left from centre), Deputy Director, Pesticide and Fertilizer Control Division, Department of Agriculture, Malaysia.

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‘CABI strengthens partnership with ICC for sustainable development of the coconut sector.’

‘CABI renews agreement with Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute.’

‘MARDI-CABI Joint Laboratory Kicks Off in Malaysia.’