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Saturday, August 10, 2019

RICE IN MALAYSIA- STATISTIC (Part 3)

Rice in Malaysia is an important commodities and third importance after Oil Palm and Rubber. Increase private sector participation in the breeding segment8. MARDI has established and led the plant breeding work since the early 1970s with recognised achievements. Having said this, Malaysia is still slow in the release of new varieties. Over 50 years, India produced >1,900 varieties, the Philippines >200 and Thailand >80. Malaysia released less than 50 varieties. The segment may benefit from encouraging private sector participation, which can be achieved by: (1) improving transparency and accessibility (especially web-based) to the breeding and seed production standards and processes; and (2) review the membership of the Jawatankuasa Teknikal Bantuan Kerajaan kepada Industri Padi dan Beras (JKTBKKIPB) to avoid conflicts of interests. Strengthen the linkage between the production (farm) and midstream players through contract farming. Leveraging on the resources of the midstream players and the production capacity of the farmers, a shared-risk approach may help improve farm management, extension programmes and trust. Achieve a win-win outcome: in return for providing capacity building to the farmers, the buyers attain a steady supply of grains at the desired quality. With higher yield, improved grain quality and a secured buyer, farmers’ net profit (income) may be improved. 

Malaysia may continue to be a net importer of rice, and this should not be viewed as a failure of the industry. Statistical trends, geography and consumer preferences for premium rice means that Malaysia is likely to continue being a net importer. Considering this, the nation may be in a better position not to target 100% SSL, but with domestic rice produced sustainably, responsibly, safely and where farmers earn a sustainable income. Invisible consumption. Migrants living in Malaysia are an important source of labour and contribute towards the nation’s economic growth. It is not possible for the country to meet the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of ‘leaving no one behind’ if the basic needs of the migrants such as their staple food, are not met. Unfortunately, their rice consumption pattern is not fully understood. Based on KRI’s calculations, around 228,899 MT of rice was consumed by 2.1 million documented workers. The actual consumption that includes undocumented migrants can be more. Meaning that the actual portion of rice consumed by migrants is not known. The issue with invisible consumption should be addressed if we hope to protect vulnerable communities. Thanks!.
By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Taman Cendana, Bandaraya Melaka,
Melaka, Malaysia.
(29 Syaaban 1440H).




Thursday, July 4, 2019

RICE IN MALAYSIA - STATISTIC (Part 2)

Rice in Malaysia are important comodities grown by rural farmers. With input subsidies, MADA farmers are as competitive as key rice growing regions in Thailand, the Philippines, China and Indonesia. However, the removal of subsidies would result in the net profit of MADA to be lower than the key rice growing regions in the countries mentioned. These shortcomings may be attributed to issues within and between segments of the supply chain. These issues include the slow release of new paddy varieties, weak farm extension programmes and poor farm management practices. There is also the tendency to focus on protecting the largest stakeholders: consumers (31 million) and paddy farmers (approximately about 200,000), neglecting the interests of the other stakeholders in the industry. The matter is compounded by distrust amongst stakeholders, resulting in disconnections within the supply chain. There are also data transparency, reliability and frequency issues, leading to delayed policy and private sector responses to changes in the industry. The following are some suggestions for the industry: Shift away from production-centric, self-sufficiency targets6. At 60 - 70% SSL, we have attained a certain level of production capacity. Thus, it is timely to review our agricultural strategies. It is also not sufficient to use rice SSL as a proxy for food security because food security is multidimensional.


In fact, when other factors of food security were considered, Malaysia performed better compared to rice exporting countries in Southeast Asia. This suggests that the country’s ability to produce rice (and other food), does not equate to being food secure as other factors (quality, safety and sustainable practices) should also be considered. Apart from increasing production measured in volumes, a suggestion is to include other indicators such as the adoption of Good Agricultural Practices (MyGap), Good Manufacturing Practices and transparency when evaluating the industry’s performance. Strengthen the supply chain with traceable, accessible and real-time data7. Such can be achieved through Information and Communication Technology (ICT) applications such as Blockchain, established by a team comprising representatives from each segment of the supply chain and technical specialists.  Source:www.krininstitute.org.

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Taman Cendana, Bukit Beruang,
Melaka, MAlaysia.
(30 Syaaban 1440H).
Posted from,
Room 908, Amara Hotel Singapore,
165, Tanjung Pagar Road,
Singapore.




Thursday, June 6, 2019

RICE IN MALAYSIA - STATISTIC

Rice is a staple food for Malaysia and a defining feature of our culture. Malaysians consume the grain daily either as cooked rice or indirectly in the form of rice flour. Nasi lemak, bihun goreng, laksa, kuih apam and lepat pisang, are some of the many rice-based foods we consume. During festive occasions, we see pulut kuning at Malay weddings and red tortoise cakes during Chinese New Year. Therefore, it is not surprising that in 2016, we consumed 80kg of rice per person, which is about 26% of the total caloric intake per day, costing an average of RM44/month per household. Among the states, households in Sabah spent the most on rice at RM73/month while households in Perlis spent the least at just RM13/month. This means that in the same year, 2.7m MT of rice was consumed, whereby 67% was produced locally, and the rest imported primarily from Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan. It is now less than a year until the end of the National Agro-Food Policy (2011- 2020). Knowing this and given the importance of rice, Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) conducted a review of the paddy and rice industry. The objectives of the report are to look into the history of the industry, meet key stakeholders, study statistical trends, identify challenges and finally, provide suggestions in charting a way forward for the industry. Production has increased over the decades. 

Historically, Malaysia has always had production-driven agricultural targets. Measures were introduced since the 1940s to help increase national rice production and protect farmers’ welfare. Indeed, over 30 years, the total production has increased, allowing the self-sufficiency level (SSL) to hover between 60 - 70%. Paddy farmers remain in the B40. In 2016, the household income of farmers in MADA was RM2,527/month, while the national mean was at RM6,958/ month. Without subsidies, the cost of production (COP) is high. The net profit from paddy cultivation in MADA in 2014 stood at RM2,892/Ha/season and this is affected by the Cost Of Production at RM3,766/Ha/season. The largest contributions to the Cost of Production are land rental and machinery, at 42% and 30% respectively, while input and labour costs contributed less. That is how rice is very important to Malaysia!. Nasi Lemak is most favorite culinary..

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Taman Cendana, Bukit Beruang,
Melaka,
Malaysia. 
(30 Syaaban 1440H).
Posted at 2 Shawal 1440H
Selamat Hari Raya 2019!
Maaf Zahir Batin....


Monday, May 27, 2019

MATAG COCONUT VS MAWA COCONUT

COCONUT (Cocos nucifera) are the fourth important crop in Malaysia after Palm Oil, Rubber and Paddy. There are Tall Variety and Dwarf Variety of coconut grown in Malaysia whereby about 15 variety are registered with Department of Agriculture. There are few hybrid variety introduced for commercial planting in Malaysia since early 1960 including MAWA and in year 2000 that is MATAG. The MAWA and MATAG cononuts are the result of hybridization between the local dwarf coconut and a selected tall variety. MAWA are crossed between Malayan Dwarf Variety (MRD or MYD) with West African Tall and MATAG are crossed between two Malayan Dwarf variety (MRD or MYD) with Tagnanan Tall variety. The dwarf parent acts as the mother palm, whereas the tall parent serves as pollen donor. The choice of parental coconut varieties depend on the inherent characteristics possessed by both; the dwarf parent has earlier maturity, fruit bearing and shorter height increment, while the tall parent produces a high number of female flower "buttons", has larger coconuts, and has superior kernel quality. This article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I would like to share my technical knowhow about both MAWA and MATAG coconut that make a debut in Malaysia for many years.


Reseach data from Malaysian Authority shows that the performance of both MAWA and MATAG are significantly excellent. Data collected from 1987 - 2007(20 years) shows that the nuts pr tree are 182 - 190 nut and the total of nut per bunch are recorded at 17.2 for both variety. However the amount of copra recorded higer quantity for MAWA variety (47.6 kg / palm) compare to only 40.6 kg/ palm for MATAG variety. As can be seen from the table above, each hybrid has its own merit in terms of production and yield. While the MAWA produces 4.5% more nuts per palm compared to MATAG, its smaller nut size results in it producing 17.2% less copra. The following photo shows a comparison of the copra and nut size of the the Malayan Tall, MATAG and MAWA coconuts respectively. The hybrid coconut yield performance picks up and gradually reaches a peak about 15 years after first bearing. Overall, both hybrids match each other in terms of production, with the MAWA marginally outperforming the MATAG in nut production. However, in terms of copra yield, the MATAG soundly beats the MAWA, especially in the first 15 years of production. Bunch production is very much static, except for a few years where severe drought had been experienced in the trial plots. From my observation, throughout the evaluation period, yield performance tended to fluctuate. However, this type of fluctuation is actually quite typical of coconuts; after a year with high productivity, the next year will typically experience a drop in yield. In addition, environmental stressors such as the annual drought season and El-Nino/La Nina cycles will have a dramatic impact upon yield. Thanks for reading this article.
Writer wih a MATAG Coconut at Johor State.

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Taman Bandar Baru UDA,
Johor Bahru, Johor,
Malaysia.
(4 September 2018).

Sunday, May 5, 2019

MATAG COCONUT - WHAT IT IS?

MATAG COCONUT (Cocos nucifera) is a short form or a nick name of new hybrid coconut which is from original coconut from Malaysia which is Malaysia Yellow Dwarf (MYD) or Malaysia Red Dwarf (MRD) with Tagnanan Tall that a veriety of coconut from Philippine. The height of MATAG coconut can reach up to 15 meter and the leaves can be green or orange depends on the main Malaysia coconut tree. MATAG coconut is the new type of coconut where it can produce approximately up to 40,000 of coconut per hectare each year which is more than the normal coconut or other hybrid coconut tree. The coconut produced by MATAG coconut tree is suitable for variety of uses such as for coconut water, coconut milk production, and also for grated coconut. If the coconut farm has been organized well and adequate rainfall, MTAG coconut will start to blossom on the third year and it can be harvest on the next year. Besides, MATAG coconut will produce high production of copra in long term duration where one MATAG coconut tree can produce the copra eight times per year.

In term of producing the coconut fruit, each of the MATAG coconut tree will have about four to five cluster where each cluster will consists maximum 15 - 17 coconuts. But for the first six years of planting the MATAG coconut tree, it will produce lower quantity of copra which about 12.2kg to 36.4kg for the first year compared to the normal coconut tree which is about 16.4kg to 33kg. MATAG coconut tree will start to produce high quantity of copra on the seventh year which is 42.2kg compared to 34.3kg for normal coconut. The characteristics and also the benefits of MATAG coconut is that this type of coconut will produce high quality of copra were it has thicker plump compared to other hybrid coconut and also normal coconut. The size of the coconut also bigger which it makes the copra thicker and it can increase the production of grated coconut an also coconut milk increase compared to the normal coconut. In addition, the taste of the MATAG coconut also more delicious because the coconut water is sweeter and more rather than normal or other hybrid coconut which make it more suitable for people to drink it. Thankyou!!...


By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Coconut Agriculture Statuin,
Jorak, Muar,
Johor, Malaysia.
(12 August 2018).

Monday, April 15, 2019

KEREPEK - THE DELICOIUS CHIP

KEREPEK is sold out. So many customers have bought since Raya is just around the corner. If you want, you can help fry and pack them yourself,” said the man matter-of-factly to my father. The blazing sun overhead had driven us to the shed at Kampung Sg. Lang in Banting, Selangor to seek respite and you guessed it, some kerepek pisang (banana chips)!.. My father agreed and promptly started stirring the banana chips already frying in the big wok. The same man instructed him to scoop the chips once done, and showed him where he could vacuum-seal the bag of chips. And that’s how it was the last time you were there. But then you were still small,” shared my dad of Banting’s famous kerepek house, Kerepek Fazz, during my family’s buka puasa (breaking of fast) on Saturday. The ubiquitous kerepek pisang and ubi (tapioca chips) are synonymous with Malaysians, especially during the Hari Raya season. For my family, Hari Raya is never complete without serving these chips to our guests. We’d usually get our stock from Kerepek Fazz. I’ve only a vague memory of that day but I recall the two big woks with the evenly sliced pieces of banana frying in them and the fact that the shed was located next to a traditional kampung house. Intrigued by the story my father told, I take a leisurely drive to the village the next day to meet the man behind this famous kerepek house. As I drive along the newly paved road of Jalan Utama Kg. Sg. Lang Baru, I come across stalls selling kuih Raya (Hari Raya traditional desserts) and kerepek, set up on both sides. The scene is chaotic with cars parked by the roadside, narrowing the road considerably as the crowds swarmed around the displays of food. After few turns which leads me to a narrower road, I finally catch sight of the sign Kerepek Fazz and in smaller fonts underneath it “sejak 1983” (since 1983). This 34-year-old kerepek house is the most well-known place in Banting to obtain this delicious snack.


The shop is tucked between two single-storey houses, and the large compound is already filled with parked vehicles. A bespectacled man with white hair and a neatly trimmed white beard appears from the inside of one of the single-storey houses to greet me. He’s none other than Mahmudin Abas, founder and owner of Kerepek Fazz. “Pakcik ni tak pandai nak bercerita. Kalau pandai, pakcik dah jadi penulis kot? (I’m not good at telling stories. If I was, I’d probably be a writer),” he jests as we sit down for a chat. He doesn’t waste any time, beginning his story frankly: “To be honest, there’s no secret recipe or special ingredient,” adding that he simply fries the sliced bananas and while they’re still frying, he adds in salted water. “That’s all! You just need to take care of the temperature while frying them and the timing when you pack the chips,” he explains with a smile before continuing in his lilting Javanese accent: “You can’t overstock the chips. If you sell them late, they will go bad. Then people would complain ‘tak sedap,’ (not tasty).” He advises not to keep the banana chips in the car for too long, as the heat will cause the oil to separate from the chips. If stored properly, he says the chips can last for as long as two months. When business first started, there were only the salty, circular sliced banana and tapioca chips. Presently, there are many varieties of chips, ranging from sweet to spicy, and in different shapes as well. The bestseller remains the round banana chips made from pisang tanduk (banana plantain). “Ramadan time is usually the busiest. Alhamdulillah (praise be to God) business is doing fine. The demand is usually lesser in January, probably because people have already spent their money during the school holidays to travel,” Mahmudin says as we both observe the non-stop flow of customers walking in and out of his shop.


He started the business without any government loan and with no experience in sales and marketing. Born and bred in Banting, this 62-year-old former factory technician recalls: “I used to work shifts, and usually at night, the girls would snack on asam (sour candies) to stay awake. My wife suggested that we fry banana chips for them. They loved it and were willing to pay for more!” Smiling, he adds: “I couldn’t resist so I went on to source for more bananas, made the chips and sold it to them!” The rest, they say, is history. From pisang tanduk, he moved on to a different species of banana, pisang abu. Discovering that the latter takes some time to ripen, he decided to experiment with tapioca. “We fried the thinly sliced pieces and I brought them to my colleagues. It was a hit! So I thought that it had potential. In May 1985, I finally quit my job and have been selling chips ever since,” he tells me with a grin. Two years prior to quitting, he researched on the technical requirements needed to set up his chips business as well as the marketing and production aspects. His main market at that time were the factories located in Sg. Way and Ulu Kelang in Selangor and Senawang in Negri Sembilan. Business was booming. Then the fall came. When the world economy collapsed in 1985, Mahmudin’s business was hit badly. “Factory workers were laid off so there were fewer customers. It hit us hard,” he recollects, his eyes misting over. But there was a silver lining in the dark clouds looming over his business for a while. In 1986, he met a Singaporean exporter who exported Terengganu fish crackers. A deal was struck and he agreed to export Mahmudin’s chips to the UK. The chips received positive response overseas. Between 1987 and 1996, his humble chips have been exported to as far as the Middle East and Australia. From just being a small homegrown business with one cook and five woks, the growing demand led up to 45 woks with nine workers under him. “At one time, I used up 230 large gas canisters until the petrol company sales people came up to Banting seeking me out. They were curious and thought Banting was having a gas leak for us to use up that many canisters!” he recalls with a laugh. At present, the cooking and packing of chips take place at his factory. He admits that the deep fryer technology has certainly helped his business: “We can cook faster and in a controlled environment. This way, we can cater to the growing demand.” He divulges that he has helpers who work around the clock, “if not there wouldn’t be enough to supply.” Thanks.

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Taman Cendana, Melaka,
Malaysia.
(1 Muhharam 1440H).

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

TALK ABOUT FRESH FISH

What do you mean by fresh fish?.... It has never been frozen and it has not been hanging around in the back of a lorry or warehouse just waiting to be put on a shelf or fish display. Fresh fish comes to you as ‘straight off the boat’ as it is possible for it to be. Where most consumer buy from the local market, they buy on quality and not purely on price. The collective years of experience lead supplier to be very selective over what is good enough for fresh fish customers. Only the best fish obtained from the source are considered fresh. Below are some tips about fresh fish:

1. Fresh fish are not necessarily better
The ‘fresh’ fish on ice in the seafood tray are actually the very same fish available a step or two away in the freezer case; they’ve just been defrosted for your ‘convenience’ — and marked up for the store’s profit. If you are looking to buy to store for the week, it is often better to just buy the pre-frozen fish (refer to below for more on frozen fish) to avoid freezing the same food twice.

2. Wet markets do not sell the best fish
Unfortunately in Malaysia this is definitely not the case. Wet market is an extremely price competitive arena where fishmongers compete on prices. Every morning, tons of frozen fish from Thailand & Indonesia are brought to every wet market across Malaysia – to be defrosted and sold to the visitors. Periodically there will be reports on the dangerously high concentration of formaldehyde in the seafood.

3. “Fresh-from-the-boat” is not a guarantee!
Seafood degrades the minute it leaves the water. Most (if not all) Malaysian boats do not have full freezing facility on board and yet some would be out in the sea for weeks. Sources from Gelang Patah, Kuala Selangor, Sekinchan, Melaka would be caught weeks ago before they reach you - despite they are “fresh-from-the-boat”. For the real fresh ones, buy the Pontian fish. Pontian boats are generally smaller and the fishing trips are usually only 36 hours - offering the true fresh-from-the-boat quality.

4. Not all frozen fish are the same

It depends on how long the fish has been frozen. Most frozen fish have been sitting in the freezer for months. Ice crystal would cut through the cell membranes. That is when you get fish flesh that are like potato mash.
Have a nice day!!


By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Taman Cendana, Melaka City,
Melaka, Malaysia.
(1 Muhharam 1440H).
Published from,
Enggang 2 Ballroom,
Continental Hotel,
Langkawi, Kedah.
2 April 2019.