JOM SOKONG BLOG

KLIK SAYA...

Saturday, August 19, 2017

LAND REQUIRED FOR GRAIN CORN INDUSTRY

 
Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

KEMAMAN - The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry requires at least 300,000 hectares of land to turn maize grain cultivation as a new agricultural industry to meet domestic livestock requirements, said its Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek. In order to achieve this objective, he said, it was necessary for the federal and state governments to extend their cooperation in preparing to expand the new industry. "It is not as easy as it seems because we need the support of everyone including the central and state governments as they have plenty of idle land," he told reporters after launching a national seminar on the Development of Grain Corn Industry, here today. Also present were Agriculture Department director-general Datuk Ahmad Zakaria Mohamad Sidek and State Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Committee chairman Datuk Mohamad Pehimi Yusof. Ahmad Shabery said a grain corn pilot project had been implemented since March in Kampung Dadong, near here and the second harvest from the 30-hectare site had produced about 200 tonnes. The success of this project has changed the mindset of local farmers who had the idea that it was impossible for the country to produce grain corn as the main source of food for livestock.


Apart from Dadong, the grain corn were also cultivated in Ru Tapai, Setiu and Kuala Berang, Hulu Terengganu and several other areas on trial basis, in an attempt to produce high quality grain corn. "I believe the Terengganu government can take into consideration the required acreage and number of farmers needed to develop this new grain corn cultivation as a model industry," he said. He said last year the country imported RM46.74 billion worth of agricultural produce while exports were estimated at RM30.15 billion which resulted in a trade deficit of RM16.59 billion. He added that the country's food trade deficit was, among others, contributed by imports of agricultural produce especially grain corn from Argentina, Brazil and the United States. At the seminar Ahmad Shabery also presented incentives to 291 corn grain entrepreneurs nationwide which involved an allocation of RM4,191,590. Terengganu had the largest number of participants with 138 recipients sharing an allocation of RM1,656,590. 
This report from -BERNAMA.
By,
M Anem 
Senior Agronomist,
Kg Dadong, Kemaman,
Terengganu, Malaysia.
(July 2017).

Monday, August 7, 2017

HAVE FOOD, HAVE POWER (Part 4)


"HAVE FOOD, HAVE POWER" it is clear when he starts talking about the subject that it is a topic close to the heart of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek. Without a doubt, “food sovereignty” is not just a buzzword for the 57-year-old politician who has been overseeing the country’s agricultural affairs for over a year now. Even after a long, hot, afternoon ploughing through the new maize (corn) farm in Kampung Dadong, near Kemaman, Terengganu, Ahmad Shabery is indefatigable as he shares his aspiration to make the country self-sustainable in its agro-food production, and more. Food sovereignty, or the rights of a nation to produce its own food and not depend on imported food supplies to feed its population, is an important policy for Malaysia to adopt, he stresses. “Our country is currently importing more food than it is producing and exporting, which puts us at the mercy of foreign countries,” he says, referring to Malaysia’s food import bill last year, which was reported at RM45.39bil. Our food export amounted to only RM27bil, leaving us with a deficit of over RM18bil. It is a heavy economic burden, and that is why the Government has been aiming at self-sufficiency for some time, he adds. Once we achieve self-sustainability in our food production, it could eventually lead to food sovereignty.


9. Can we have food sovereignty with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and Asean Economic Community?
We have no choice, even without them, we will have other trade agreements and partnerships that we have to open up to. TPPA will force us to be more competitive. For instance, countries with the lowest costs of poultry farming are the US and Brazil because they grow their own feed and have a lot of mechanisation. The prices of their chicken is therefore low. So under TPPA, it will be difficult for us to stop them from entering our market. But that doesn’t mean we should just accept it. We have to improve our own capabilities to compete with them. We also need to look at it as an opportunity to bargain and market our own products - we have other agro-products that are cheaper than theirs.

10. Climate experts forecast that we will experience La Nina later in the year. Are our farmers prepared?
We cannot stop our agricultural activities because of the weather. In fact, the weather is part of the risk in agriculture. We need to mitigate it. We are also looking at crop insurance to protect farmers from risks linked to climate change such as drought, diseases and floods. In its first phase, the crop insurance will cover only padi. Later, it will include other agriculture activities such as livestock, agrofood commodities such as fruits and vegetables as well as the fisheries sector. The insurance will make the agriculture sector more attractive to investors, while giving farmers a peace of mind.

11. What about climate change? What are the ministry’s plans in facing climate change?
Again, we cannot stop the extreme weather, but there are cycles - like El Nino and La Nina - so we are looking at how we can deal with each cycle to mitigate the impact on our food crops, livestock and fish. The National Agro-Food policy has also taken into account the effects of climate change. We also need our researches and experts to come up with new solutions to the challenges that we will face in agriculture due to climate change as well as look at ways to improve our food production. For instance, they can look at how we can develop new variety of seeds and plants that can make our crops more able to weather the changes in our climate. We are lucky, though, that our weather is not as extreme as other countries - we don’t get hurricanes or cyclones as the ones in China or Taiwan. Thanks..

Original info from local newspaper and published.

Rearranged by,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Kg Dadong, Kemaman,
Terengganu, Malaysia.
(Attended the official grain corn planting by Minister)

Friday, August 4, 2017

GRAIN CORN - HOW IMPORTANT IN MALAYSIA

 
HAVE FOOD, HAVE POWER - it is clear when he starts talking about the subject that it is a topic close to the heart of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek. Without a doubt, “food sovereignty” is not just a buzzword for the 57-year-old politician who has been overseeing the country’s agricultural affairs for over a year now. Even after a long, hot, afternoon ploughing through the new maize (corn) farm in Kampung Dadong, near Kemaman, Terengganu, Ahmad Shabery is indefatigable as he shares his aspiration to make the country self-sustainable in its agro-food production, and more. Food sovereignty, or the rights of a nation to produce its own food and not depend on imported food supplies to feed its population, is an important policy for Malaysia to adopt, he stresses. “Our country is currently importing more food than it is producing and exporting, which puts us at the mercy of foreign countries,” he says, referring to Malaysia’s food import bill last year, which was reported at RM45.39bil. Our food export amounted to only RM27bil, leaving us with a deficit of over RM18bil. It is a heavy economic burden, and that is why the Government has been aiming at self-sufficiency for some time, he adds. Once we achieve self-sustainability in our food production, it could eventually lead to food sovereignty. Integral to the ministry’s food sovereignty plans is the Kampung Dadong grain corn farm - a pilot project to grow Malaysia’s own feed grain. “Our animal feed bill amounts to RM5.6bil a year on average.

Ahmad Shabery hopes roll out the corn grain 
farming project nationwide within two years.


“Corn is the most crucial raw ingredient in the feed for our chicken, cattle, goat and fish, but we import nearly 100% of it for our use at a cost of RM3.1bil a year,” says Ahmad Shabery. By farming our own corn, he adds, we can cut our food import bill while creating a new agro-based industry ecosystem that can open up opportunities through its value chain from seed production to harvesting and processing, logistics and marketing. “Do you know, grain corn (which, unlike our regular sweet corn, is not suitable for eating) has some 260 industrial uses including pharmaceutical?” he muses, before stressing, “Our priority now, of course, is to produce enough of the grain we need to feed our livestock.” Top of that livestock list are our chickens, which he describes as one of our cheapest sources of protein. As he puts it, grain corn farming could be a long-term solution for stabilising the supply and prices of local chicken. “Currently, Malaysia’s chicken production is at 110% of self sufficiency level (SSL) but this cannot be fully guaranteed because the country still relies on imported feed for the local chicken,” he says, highlighting a recent case when Argentina’s corn supply, which accounts for 90% of the corn supply to Malaysia, was affected when floods hit the country. Imagine if there is a war or other geopolitical disasters, says Ahmad Shabery, we will suffer, especially if we rely on imports of food production inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, animal feed, machinery and equipment.


> Why didn’t we go into grain corn farming before?
We don’t have a grain policy or grain board or grain projection. We have been relying almost 100% on imports, which depends on international pricing. We don’t have this policy because all this while, the belief is that it is cheaper to import. The irony is that our neighboring countries - Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and even Vietnam - have their own policy and are looking at growing corn as their second food crop after rice. Our weather is also said to be unsuitable, but why is it possible for our neighbors to grow corn? We have the same weather and the same conditions, more or less. In the Philippines, for example, corn for feed is widely grown in (the southern state of) Mindanao. If it can grow in Mindanao, why not in Sabah?. We are currently importing up to four million tonnes of corn grain worth about RM3.1bil a year. Paddy fields outside the rice bowl area like Kampung Dadonga are ideal for corn farming as the land is dry and flat, making it easy to use sowing equipment and harvesting machines. It is causing a high outflow of our currency to foreign markets; the trade deficit for Malaysia’s agro-food was RM18.1bil in 2015 and feed grain is one of the biggest contributors to the deficit with an import cost of RM5.6bil, out of which RM3.1bil is from feed corn alone. We hope to reduce the country’s dependency on imported corn grain by at least 50% in the next few years. 


> What is the ministry’s target for rolling out the grain corn-farming project?.
We are currently drawing up a corn grain policy and plan with some experts from the local universities. As for the time frame, we don’t only need to prove that we can grow grain corn here, we also need to make sure that the corn is of high quality as feed for our livestock. For instance, we want chicken fed with the corn grain to grow to 2kg in 45 days. So we need time. This pilot project will take about 100 days for its first yield (expected this September) and let’s say, with further testing, it will take about a year. I think by the second year, we can expand it on a national scale. We have already earmarked paddy fields outside of the country’s rice bowl area (kawasan jelapang padi) which is estimated to be about 164,000ha wide. It will be easier to start in these areas because the land is flat and has an existing irrigation system, and you don’t need to clear it.

Like in Kampung Dadong, we want to plant the grain corn as an alternate crop in their paddy fields. The farmers in Kampung Dadong usually plant paddy from February to June, and after harvest, they leave their land unused until the next year. Under the pilot project, they are planting grain corn there from June to October. This crop rotation can increase their earnings by RM1,000 per hectare. This pilot project in Kampung Dadong is about 38ha wide. We need about 400,000ha. The Government also plans to use unused land in the country, estimated to be about 120,000ha. (One good thing) is that we don’t need a lot of investment to grow corn. If we focus on increasing the production of rice in areas outside of our rice bowl area, we will need to put in a lot of investment in building dams, developing better irrigation systems, etcetera. With grain corn in these paddy fields, we don’t need all that and it will help stem the outflow of our currency in the future and save our currency with regards to our import bill.

This initiative is part of our food security policy. So far, we have only focused on the security of our carbohydrate supply or rice. We have not focussed on the security of our protein supply. The cheapest supply of protein in the country is chicken. We currently produce enough chicken for the country’s needs; in fact, the production is at 110%, allowing us to even export some. But what many don’t realise is that the chicken feed is 100% imported. Imagine if Argentina or Brazil suddenly stop exporting chicken feed, our chicken will not have food. Now some are asking why the price of chicken has gone up even though our supply of chicken is meeting our needs – it’s not a question of simple supply and demand. The price hike is due to the hike in import prices, fall of our currency, delay in the delivery, and others. We need to look at it from an agro-economics perspective.


> You also mentioned food sovereignty. What is the difference between food sovereignty and food security?

Food sovereignty is one step higher than food security. Take Singapore as example, it might have food security because its food supply is adequate due to trade agreements with food producing countries ... But in the case of war, trade sanctions and geopolitical instability affecting global prices or preventing the delivery, then their food security will be affected. In these cases, the measure of strength of a country is not how much weaponry it has but how much food we have and our ability to produce our own food. That is our food sovereignty. That is why I believe that if we don’t have a policy in relation to our livestock and grain, even though we are currently producing enough food for the country’s needs - around 80% - we will be exposed to elements that can threaten our political stability. People who have not eaten for five days will go on a rampage. We don’t need outside forces to attack us. That is the benchmark. Previously, there were countries that relied on imports for food like Venezuela, but look at what’s happening there now. When the oil prices were high, they had enough income so they did not think it was necessary to grow their own food, but the minute their oil price fell, so did their currency. Now they are facing 1000% inflation, Venezuela is now constantly on the brink of unrest. We are quite lucky to have enough rice, but still it is not enough.


> What if our farmers decide to stop planting food crops like rice and go into cash crops like grain corn?


That’s why we have a lot of incentives and subsidies for rice farmers to reduce their farming costs and help them earn more income, because we understand that other crops might be more profitable – farmers in Kedah have complained that they are forced to grow rice when others are allowed to plant palm oil which is more profitable, for example. But with grain corn, rice farmers can plant it as a second crop, after they harvest their rice, to enhance their soil and increase their income. Crop rotation is good for the soil. Anyway, they can’t focus only on the corn because in Terengganu at least, we have the wet season which is not suitable for corn. During the monsoon, they will need to plant paddy. Many usually just wait more than six months after they harvest their rice for the next cycle.

> Does the ministry have a module for the farmers?

We are in partnership with Green World Genetics Sdn Bhd (GWG) where the company is “training” the farmers to plant corn in their paddy fields and supplying the seeds. GWG is a leading company in the development of the country’s seed industry under the National Key Economic Areas (NKEA). The profits are divided 70:30 between the farmers and GWG. The company also offers a buy-back guarantee of the corn grain produced by the farmers in the pilot project.



> What other agricultural sectors or products is the ministry looking at for the country’s food sovereignty?


We are also looking at dairy farming and livestock (for meat). We are already self-sufficient in some foods, such as rice, where we produce about 70% of the population’s needs. It is the same with chicken and fish, but where meat and milk are concerned, we can only afford to produce 20% of the population’s needs so far. Again, animal feed is an issue. For dairy farming, for instance, we need hectares of grass fields for their food while the infrastructure for processing the milk is complex. That means we need to streamline the farms, we cannot do it in patches. We need an economy of scale for efficiency in logistics and supply chain including the processing and transportation. If we don’t address that, it will push the price of the products up. It is crucial for dairy farming because we need to keep the products, like milk, fresh.

> To expand our agricultural activities and increase our agro-food production so that we can attain food sovereignty, we need to encourage more young people to go into the field. How can we do that?

We have to prove that agriculture can guarantee a good life. True, some people say they are going into agriculture because of their love of farming or nature, and they say they don’t care about the money. In the long run, however, it will not be sustainable. We need to break the old myth that farmers are poor, that there is no money in farming, and they need aid. The minute you can prove that one can have economic stability and prosperity through agriculture, you can draw young people into the field. We also need to build up “Agriculture icons” and develop “cool farmers” who are modern, adept at technology et cetera. I think more and more people are losing interest in or getting fed up of office work. They don’t want to dress formally or wear suits and be tied to their desks every day. I think many young people now aspire to work out in the open and be close to nature and dress casually in jeans and t-shirt. We need to build these images and types of personalities to change the old perception on agriculture.


> We already have a National Agro-Food Policy 2010-2020, so how does this and food sovereignty factor into it?

Livestock is not mentioned in our National Agro-Food Policy for some reason. I’m not sure why. And while we have highlighted food security in that policy, it is not enough. We have to do more. Food sovereignty means you are more than secure, you are supreme - you have power and strength as a food producer and can penetrate other markets in the world. In some agricultural countries like Denmark, for example, they don’t talk about producing 100% or 200% of their food needs, they are actually looking at producing 700% of their needs, so that they can conquer the world markets with their food products. It’s the same in countries like Norway and Switzerland, among others. They are small countries but they are producing more food that they need because they are looking at food as a tool for supremacy and diplomacy. Even in the US, the second prominent state building in Washington is the Department of Agriculture, underlining the importance of the agro-food sector. In the US’ DoA, for example, they have about 1000 economists and other experts who understand climate change, genes, seeds - all looking at how to develop policies that will make their country stronger. We can say that we are secure now, but if there is war, we might lose our sovereignty.


> Can we have food sovereignty with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and Asean Economic Community?

We have no choice, even without them, we will have other trade agreements and partnerships that we have to open up to. TPPA will force us to be more competitive. For instance, countries with the lowest costs of poultry farming are the US and Brazil because they grow their own feed and have a lot of mechanisation. The prices of their chicken is therefore low. So under TPPA, it will be difficult for us to stop them from entering our market. But that doesn’t mean we should just accept it. We have to improve our own capabilities to compete with them. We also need to look at it as an opportunity to bargain and market our own products – we have other agro-products that are cheaper than theirs.


> Climate experts forecast that we will experience La Nina later in the year. Are our farmers prepared?

We cannot stop our agricultural activities because of the weather. In fact, the weather is part of the risk in agriculture. We need to mitigate it. We are also looking at crop insurance to protect farmers from risks linked to climate change such as drought, diseases and floods. In its first phase, the crop insurance will cover only padi. Later, it will include other agriculture activities such as livestock, agrofood commodities such as fruits and vegetables as well as the fisheries sector. The insurance will make the agriculture sector more attractive to investors, while giving farmers a peace of mind.


> What about climate change? What are the ministry’s plans in facing climate change?


Again, we cannot stop the extreme weather, but there are cycles - like El Nino and La Nina - so we are looking at how we can deal with each cycle to mitigate the impact on our food crops, livestock and fish. The National Agro-Food policy has also taken into account the effects of climate change. We also need our researches and experts to come up with new solutions to the challenges that we will face in agriculture due to climate change as well as look at ways to improve our food production. For instance, they can look at how we can develop new variety of seeds and plants that can make our crops more able to weather the changes in our climate. We are lucky, though, that our weather is not as extreme as other countries – we don’t get hurricanes or cyclones as the ones in China or Taiwan.
Adapted from THE STAR ONLINE.

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Room 730, Hotel Dorsett,
Putrajaya, WP,
Malaysia.
(16 Syawal 1438H) 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

PINEAPPLE GROWERS AND MD2

At Kuching, Sarawak reported by Borneo Post Newspaper with the title "Pineapple planters all excited about MD2" where most veteran pineapple planters in the state are looking forward to planting the sweet MD2 variety, which is in demand in the Middle East and Asia. Referring to the planters in Johor have found great success with the variety, which has a longer shelf life and can thus withstand longer shipping hours. In Sebuyau, Sungai Tambai Ketua Kampung Andrew Chuking Galang heads a group of 22 participants in a cluster plantation at Sungai Tambai covering over 100 acres. He is excited to plant the MD2 variety. He heard a lot about it and how it can help generate better income. I hope the authorities could provide me with 20,000 seedlings instead of the 10,000 promised earlier. I cannot wait for this to materialize. Now with the MD2 seedlings he hope more farmers will be encouraged to continue with pineapple plantations. Chuking used to plant Nanas Pada (Sawit) because the grade AA pineapple could fetch at least RM8 per fruit, but stopped planting the variety because it was disease-prone. According to Mr Sahat Tar, who has a 150-acre plantation in Kampung Sungai Mata, Samarahan, he actually is hoping to double his acreage with MD2.

Pineapple plantation is not that labor intensive compared to oil palm plantation. At the early stage, farmers able to work alone one man show. Now he just need a few workers. He also glad that his youngest, 24-year-old, son Hajihat Sahat is following his footsteps. He is involved in the marketing of pineapples right now,” said Sahat. The planter, who previously planted mostly N36 pineapples, is supported by the IADA Samarahan and Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board (LPNM). He currently plants 10,000 to 15,000 pineapple of various varieties per acre. From each acre as return he will be able to earns a profit of around RM10,000 per harvest. “The maturity period for pineapple is only 12 months and with the application of hormones, the wait for the harvest can be even shorter. And then all parts of the pineapple from seeds to the leaves are useful and will not go to waste,” he explained. Sahat suggested the authorities help to set up pineapple canneries for local farmers. “They will be more motivated in producing more than they do now. He built his own factory for the purpose of making biscuits and cordial drinks. But that production could only meet the demand of the locals,” he said. “There is still room for improvement. He am hoping that the government and corporate sector could set up canneries and factories to cater for the needs of the planters and farmers. Now we are over dependent on the middlemen to move things.” He said the industry could be developed further systematically to help in transforming the economy of rural areas. “That means better household income for planters and job opportunities for locals at all level of the assembly. His hope also is for the government to encourage farmers to develop idle state land. It will be a win-win situation for both government and people if this is done. Then we all can be more successful. I also hope that agriculture development be free from politics so that more rural people could benefit from rural transformation through the pineapple industry,” he said.

They have not yet decided on the quantity to be provided to farmers or on the requirement for this year. Not until we have the outcome of the census and report of the quarantine unit. On density, we request the farmers to plant 20,000 points per ha to ensure that they will get good returns. Recently planting materials need to go through the quarantine procedures. Farmers too need to follow procedures. This is to ensure that plants and seeds coming into Sarawak do not carry any disease. LPNM said Sarawak is not exporting any pineapples at present, but will be able to do so with the introduction of the MD2 variety. LPNM was sorting out issues to enable the MD2 seedlings to be used in the state. Because of its MD2 superior qualities, MD2 can command three times the price of other pineapples varieties. Both Sahat and Chuking are among the 719 existing planters statewide whose average monthly income is RM1,500 each. The state government aims to have 1,700 planters under the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020), with an average monthly income of RM3,500. Last year Sarawak managed to increase pineapple production by 70 per cent from 17 metric tonnes per ha in 2014 to 29 metric tonnes per ha. Sarawak is targeting 2,500 hectares by 2020, with an average production of 45 metric tons per hectare. This article referring ti the Borneo post news from Sarawak as sharing information. Thanks...
By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Projek Tanaman Nenas MD2,
PPK Rawang, Selangor,
Malaysia.
(23 Syawal 1438H)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

WHAT IS STARFRUT?


(1)  What is Star Fruit?The star fruit or Carrabolla scientific name is Averrhoea carambola from species Oxalidaceae. It is believed native to Malaysia and sSutheast Asia. In Malaysia it was grown in Selangor, Perak and Johore at 1,350 hectar in 2016 (Source: Department of Agriculture Statistic Report). Young star fruit is a light green color and when it ripens and it turn to yellow and while fully mature, it will be a golden yellow skin. The fruit shape like a star and hold it shape when cut. The young fruit in greenish skin will have salt flavor. The flesh is light yellow to yellow, crisp and juicy. Depended to varieties, its taste between pear, green apple, lemon and grape. How to select a good taste for star fruit? The good fruit is with yellow shiny skin and even color. When star fruit skin starting turn to brown, dried up, it is going to wicked and avoid to buy it.


(2) Varieties of Star Fruit in MalaysiaThere are two types of star fruit species are grown in Malaysia, known as variety B10 and variety B17 for domestic and export market. Some times its hardly to differential between it as tart variety will have a little sweet as well. Other than consumed as fresh, carambola fruits are prepared as Carambola Juice, Carambola Tarts, Carambola Sweets, Carambora Pickles and many others. In the  Salt or Tart from carambol it contain such as B10 tend to have narrow space rib. For carambola sweets, such as B7, B2 and B17 there is tendency to have thick with thickset rib compare to tart variety.


(3) How the Star fruit Look Like? The star fruit tree can grow as height 25 feet with yellowish and greenish leaves 2 to 4cm wide and 2 to 9cm long . The aromatic pink to lavender flower diameter approximately 0.95cm.The tree is grow faster and fruit bear heavily in rich loam with well drainage and high humidity climate region. In Malaysia, there grow huge at state Selangor, Johor, Kedah, Perak, Pahang and Sembilan State at season April to June or October - December. Some star Fruit Product and recipes are Puree, Dried star fruit as snack, Star fruit flavor cake,  Star fruit juice snd Star fruit candies.
 

(4)  Why Star Fruit benefits to body?In Malaysia, you can found many fruit hawker along roadside and market. The fruit had lot of nutritional value and benefits to body need. The table below shown the value for starfruit in lab analysis. Nutritional Value per 100gm contain Calorie (24 kcal.), Protein (0.7 g), Fat (1.9 g), Calcium (7 mg), Iron (0.4 mg), Vitamin A (26 mg), Vitamin B1 (0.07 mg), Vitamin B2 (0.07 mg) and Vitamin C (25.8 mg).

For further references pleas visits Belimbing ing "anim Agro Technology" at animhosnan.blogspot.com. Thankyou...

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Exotic Star Farms,
Beranang, Selangor,
Malaysia.
(23 April 2017)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

PESTIDE AT CAMEROON HIGHLANDS


IT IS heartening to note the recent media coverage and attention given to the current land clearing and water pollution issues affecting Cameron Highlands claims a report by NGO's. Recently a report organised by Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP) would like to congratulate The Star for bringing the issues to the forefront as they adversely impact the lives of people in the area. Furthermore, such situations do not augur well for the reputation of our country as a tourist attraction. Cameron Highlands over the years has acquired a reputation for its dangerous use of pesticides and of very serious concern is the evidence of the use of restricted and illegal pesticides. The following the aftermath of the media expose on land clearing at Cameron Highlands, we wish to call to attention the underlying critical issue at hand. The media reports, together with research conducted by Universiti Kebangsaan of Malaysia and Universiti Technologi Malaysia, have suggested that there is use of lindane and DDT, which are banned in the country, and are known toxic and dangerous pesticides. Lindane and DDT are suspected to be in use in the farms and plantations of Cameron Higlands. The use of lindane was discontinued after January 2000. Therefore, the use of lindane and DDT is illegal. Lindane and DDT, which are known as persistently organic pollutants (POPs), are organic compounds that have long half-lives in the environment and undergo slow physical, chemical, and biological degradation.

They are able to pass through ecosystems and can travel great distances, both locally and globally. POPs persist for a very long time in the environment. POPs tend to have high lipid solubility and therefore bioaccumulate in the fatty tissues of living organisms, and can be measured several months to several years after exposure. These characteristics mean that they can pose a special threat. Some of the known POPs are also known endocrine disruptors in that they mimic the function of steroid compounds such as hormones, potentially leading to disruption of the endocrine system in both animals and humans. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumours, birth defects and other developmental disorders. Also in February 2012, mass fish death near the Sungai Terla water intake area created a scare enough to temporarily close the Kuala Terla water plant down. From a preliminary survey of the three main watershed regions in Cameron Highlands, conducted by PAN AP in 2012, hazardous pesticides including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides were found in storage at the farms.

In addition, there were a number of illegal pesticides in foreign language packaging found in storage. It was also alarming to note that there was blatant disregard for the proper disposal of pesticide and fertiliser containers, which were found around the farms close to Sg Terla. We interviewed a number of farmers from the vegetable and flower farms in Cameron Highlands and found that they all had experienced symptoms of probable pesticide poisoning such as dizziness, coughs, headaches and rashes. They also said that none of them used any sort of personal protective equipment when spraying the pesticides. Reconciling food security with environmental integrity are current issues of paramount significance and importance at all levels. The world is more environmentally literate now and this has been the basis for a quickening change in consumer preferences.  PAN AP strongly recommends that legislation and its enforcement be implemented with immediate effect where the use of highly hazardous pesticides and, in the case of Cameron Highlands, where banned pesticides appear to be still in use.

Original reports by The Star.
By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Kg Terla, Cameroon Highlands,
Pahang, Malaysia.
(4 March 2017)

Monday, July 10, 2017

URBAN FARMING - THE CHALANGGES

URBAN FARMING (Pertanian Bandar) is a cultivation practice where food is produced in the cities around existing town areas (Bailkey and Nasr, 2000). Generally, urban farming is not a new concept in Malaysia. The similar concept of farming activities adopted by urban folks surrounding residential areas started a long time ago. This type of cultivation has been widely named with various contexts of urban farming, or urban agriculture or home gardening are in place. This home garden is practiced as a hobby, source of fruits and vegetables for the households and in some instances earn extra income for household members. A typical Malaysian cultural trait is sharing the harvest with neighbors and community. Nowadays, urban farming has been used to replace home gardening hobby, and this activity has changed its role in relation to the socio-demographic changes and needs. This is due to the agricultural land issue, urbanization, urban poverty and business opportunities that emerged from the socioeconomic needs. Urban farming is getting more and more popular in many regions across the world. New York, London and Tokyo are the leading cities from the developed countries which emphasize the various practices of urban farming. This is followed by the developing countries such as Singapore from which urban farming contributes almost 25% of its food supply. All countries engaged with urban farming now had to deal with input constraints like spaces, water, managing and maintaining the farming system in the high density populated areas. Therefore, there is a need to investigate the awareness and the understanding of the urban population toward urban farming technology. Furthermore, it is important to identify which technology is preferred by the urban population, especially the organizations that have the intention to implement the urban farming at their premise. This paper highlights the needs and potentials of urban farming technologies, and the policy interventions outlined by Malaysian government.



The needs for urban farming is important becaise it was estimated that almost 30%of global population will live in urban areas, by 2025. In Malaysia, until 2014 around 58 % of the citizens live in urban areas, and that figure is projected to increase up to 60 % by 2025. This trend is expected to continue in line with population growth and rapid urbanization. This phenomenon is due to land scarcity, the migration of rural people to the city and also because of economic factors. The migration of rural people to the city increased the population density of urban areas. Thus, this led to a competing access of food supplies, nutrition and food security to the population. Malaysia can be seen even more dependent on food supply, particularly fruits and vegetables from other countries, especially Thailand and China. The Malaysian food imports increase to 1,391,285 tons of vegetables and 730,842 tons of fruit in 2012 from 1,357,962 metric tons of vegetables and 690,027 thousand metric tons of fruits in 2011. Highly dependence on food imports provides an indication that the country is facing problems in food supply. This tendency makes the practice of urban farming very significant and relevant to serve the needs of the urban residents, particularly those which are more vulnerable to the food crisis compared to rural folks. Among the factors that lead to the needs of urban farming in Malaysia’s context is reducing the household food bills. Please link to my other articles about urban agriculture in the blog "Anim Agro Technology" by visiting animhosnan.blogspot.com for further clarification. Thanks.

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Precint 11, Putrajaya,
Malaysia.
(29 March 1438H)