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Dr Sarena Che Omar


Senior research associate, Khazanah Research Institute

Dr Sarena Che Omar holds a PhD in plant sciences from the University of Oxford under the Yayasan Khazanah scholarship programme. Owing to her interest in agriculture and food security, the senior research associate at Khazanah Research Institute conducts related policy research. Her work contributes towards the short-, medium-, and long-term food security planning for the nation.

“Food is the most basic need for a human being. We need it to survive. As such, no matter how rich or educated a nation is, without food, riots and suffering can engulf entire nations. I believe that agriculture and food production has always been underrated and it deserves more respect from us,” she asserts.

Malaysia is fortunate for its equatorial location, Sarena reasons, “The environment is so conducive to farming and we have such rich biodiversity. It is home to so many native plants that have the potential to be cultivated as food unique to the rest of the world. Musang King is just one example of why Malaysia’s land is so special. I hope we can find and develop more Musang Kings for Malaysia to proudly offer to the world.”

Sarena tirelessly works to understand how farmers can be encouraged to produce safer food for consumers through sustainable agricultural practices while improving their quality of life. “We should support local products that have acquired the MyGAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certification. Simply because these farmers have taken the extra cost and effort to make farming environmentally sustainable and food safer for us,” she explains.

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