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Monday, May 21, 2018

FUTURE AGRICULTURE IN MALAYSIA (Part 4)

Malaysia has been very successful in developing the country through organized and focused economic development plans. Globally, Malaysia has been ranked sixth in 2014 on Ease of Doing Business, 20th in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2014- 2015, 33rd in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2014 and 56th in the World Happiness Index (2013). These indicators have proven that Malaysia is capable to promote a new orientation of development focusing towards sustainability and inclusiveness. The development of a nation relies on its citizen’s wellbeing. One of the important factors of citizen’s wellbeing is food production. Food is the backbone of the society. Realising this, the Malaysian government has taken steps to ensure that there is enough food for its population. The emphasis is on self-sustainability. The agro-ecosystem management and agricultural planning has been revamped to ensure sustainability and to include green-friendly values and equitable and inclusiveness of all stake holders. Sustainable development must be inclusive enough to cater and address the population’s wider needs for food, feed, fuel, fibre, furniture, pharmaceuticals and felicity. Constraints such as high implementation cost, and pressing health and environmental concerns require governments to plan their agriculture development towards being trim, mean, focused, not wasteful, savvy, and compliant to the global environmental and health standards. This article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I would like to share some basic information with all readers.


Opportunity in Food Security

Realizing the changing trends and understanding the problems facing food security can create opportunity for better frameworks and plans. It is estimated that almost 1 billion of the world population are depending on farming for their livelihood and source of food and nutrition. This intensifies the need for the development of the agro ecosystem by implementing new ideas for better produces, such as biotechnology in agriculture. Malaysia has invested RM86.8 million in biotechnology to improve crop yield and increase resistance to environment stress. Malaysia’s target is to scale-up and strengthen productivity of paddy farming from 4MT/ha/season (4 metric tonne per hector per season) to 8MT/ha/season by 2020 by utilising improved mechanisation in paddy farming through biotechnology.

Technology in Food Security

Global Positioning System (GPS) – the idea of using GPS is to allow farmers to work during low visibility field conditions such as rain, dust, fog, and darkness by giving the position of the agriculture land. GPS helps in three aspects of production, namely data collection of information input through satellite data, grid soil sampling, yield monitoring and remote sensing. For Geographic Information System (GIS) - GIS enables the coupling of real-time data collection with accurate position information, leading to efficient manipulation and analysis of large amounts of geospatial data. These data assist farmers to make informed decisions and to be more efficient in agriculture activities. Fir the Inter Cropping the growing of two or more crops simultaneously on the same field. This approach helps to reduce both time and space utilization. However, inter cropping requires skilled labourers as it deals with two or more crops. The use of Hybrid Seed because Hybrid seed is being introduced to increase the efficiency and optimizing productivity of plant, as well as to ensure the sustainability of plant production and to create friendly environment.

Environment sustainability

Globally the agriculture contributes 17-30 percent to Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To lessen the agricultural impact on environment, steps are taken to grow quality and quantity of natural resources that could reduce emissions per tonne of production and optimize overall water usage. For the issues and challenges in future environment sustainability. The Green House Gas (GHG) in Agriculture production, especially meat produce, causes greenhouse gas impact on the environment. Research has concluded that if current trends continue, food production alone will reach, if not exceed, the global expectation for total GHG emissions in 2050. As the world’s population increases and diet preference shifts towards meat-heavy, particularly in western diet, the effect of greenhouse gas emissions could accelerate faster than expected to harm the environment and human.


Resource utilization

In the case of resource utilization it is estimated that cropland will expend by 42 percent by 2050. However, the expansion would not bring any benefit if not effectively utilised and managed. Currently, it has been identified that 198 million hectare of land with about the size of Mexico is used to produce food that are not being consumed. Resources management is not only about effective utilisation, but includes the management of activities to avoid harming the environment. For example, efficient usage of water in farming, and the usage of fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide that improves agriculture production but does not pollute the environment.

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Room 1807, Imperial Heritage Hotel,
Bandar Hilir, Melaka,
Malaysia.
(19 RabiulAwal 1439H)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

FUTURE AGRICULTURE IN MALAYSIA (Part 3)

Malaysia has been very successful in developing the country through organized and focused economic development plans. Globally, Malaysia has been ranked sixth in 2014 on Ease of Doing Business, 20th in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2014- 2015, 33rd in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2014 and 56th in the World Happiness Index (2013). These indicators have proven that Malaysia is capable to promote a new orientation of development focusing towards sustainability and inclusiveness. The development of a nation relies on its citizen’s wellbeing. One of the important factors of citizen’s wellbeing is food production. Food is the backbone of the society. Realising this, the Malaysian government has taken steps to ensure that there is enough food for its population. The emphasis is on self-sustainability. The agro-ecosystem management and agricultural planning has been revamped to ensure sustainability and to include green-friendly values and equitable and inclusiveness of all stake holders. Sustainable development must be inclusive enough to cater and address the population’s wider needs for food, feed, fuel, fibre, furniture, pharmaceuticals and felicity. Constraints such as high implementation cost, and pressing health and environmental concerns require governments to plan their agriculture development towards being trim, mean, focused, not wasteful, savvy, and compliant to the global environmental and health standards.  Agro-ecosystem Management Challenges is a factor to be discussed. Malaysia is blessed with fertile soil and abundance of rain since it is located on the world tropical belt. However, to meet the agriculture development objectives Malaysia has to face and overcome social, economic and environmental challenges. This article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I would like to share some basic information with all readers. 



The Way Forward in Agro-ecosystem Management
The World Economic Forum’s new vision for agriculture establishes three goals: (i) Food security, (ii) environment sustainability, and (iii) economic opportunity; and sets specific decade-by-decade milestones for each goal. Malaysia gives full consideration on all the issues and challenges in planning its agriculture development.

(i) Food security Food security requires increased agricultural production, better food distribution, reduced food waste, improved access to and participation in the global food system by the poor, and consumer education to promote healthy food choices. The vision clearly states that the ideal of food security is to meet nutritional needs while providing affordable food choices.

Issues and challenges in Food Security Demographic – By 2050, it is estimated that 60 percent more calories are needed to feed the projected 9 billion world population. The population of Malaysia at that particular time is estimated to be 43 million. History has proven that lack of food production due to inefficiency in agriculture management caused 950 million world populations to face hunger during the food crisis of 2012.

Managing agricultural yield has been identified as one of the major constraints that need innovative approaches in order to achieve food security. Maintaining agriculture yield required the ability to overcome changing climate. Climate change can reduce agricultural yield up to 20 percent in many areas of the world, and this gives serious impact to food production.

Lack of skilled workers also affects agriculture production as it creates inefficiency in managing agriculture yield.

Managing food waste – The average food wastage in Malaysia was 450 tonnes a day in 2009. The amount increased to 15,000 tonne a day in 2013.

Food waste is a global issue. It has been estimated that 24 percent calories of food produced for people are not consumed. This type of wastage can be avoided if the management of food distribution is done in a proper and effective way.
By,


M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Room 1807, Imperial Heritage Hotel,
Bandar Hilir, Melaka,
Malaysia.

(19 RabiulAwal 1439H)

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

MALAYSIAN CARAMBOLA FOR FUTURE

 CARAMBOLA or STARFRUIT (Averrhoa carambola) are the new rining tropical fruit from Malaysia in future. From its humble beginnings as a backyard crop recently carambola is now one of Malaysia’s leading exports in fruits segments. Also known as starfruit for its star-shaped appearance when sliced, the commercial cultivation of carambola started in the 1970s. By 1988, exports to Hong Kong and Singapore markets were reported to reach 13,000 tonnes, worth USD 4.9 million. Realizing the economic potential of carambola and tropical fruits, the Fruit Industry Development Program (1986-2000) was developed by the government with the following key strategies such as an expansion of local and export market through a strategic marketing plan; Intensify crop management research to reduce labor and production costs; and develop a working group to coordinate relevant agencies, producers, and exporter. There are more than 14 carambola varieties in Malaysia registered with Department of Agriculture and only 3 varieties are recomended for commercial growing. The three varieties ar B1 (for fruits production), B17 (for fruits production) and B10 (as pollinator donor).  This article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" share my experties about carambola industry in Malaysia.

In Malaysia research and development of tropical fruit including Starfruit by the Malaysian Agriculture Research and Development Institute (MARDI). Some research conducted on breeding for quality improvement of selected carambola varieties. As early as initiated in the 90s, the breeding programme was implemented to improve fruit quality, skin color, brix levels, and vitamin C content. Two commercial cultivars (B10 and B17) and two pollinator cultivars (B2 and B11) were used as parents in a diallel cross designed to yield hybrid seeds. Three hybrids (B1711, B1002, and B0217) were then selected after the fruits underwent sensory evaluation against commercial cultivars (B10 and B17). These hybrids have the potential to be exported at full maturity (‘Golden carambola’) for fresh consumption and are currently undergoing location verification trials. The study on floral biology and clonal compatibility also assiste the pollination activity for starfruit.  At 2.79-2.98%, the natural fruit set of carambola is low. Flowers are heterodistylous, meaning flowers have two different distinct lengths of pistil styles. Studies showed that to improve fruit set, cross pollination between flowers with short styles and long styles are required. From my opinion it was recommended to plant pollinator clones with long styles such (B2 or B11) in plot of commercial clones with short styles (B10) to improve fruit set and increase yield.

There are mineral nutrition of carambola able to promote this fruits globslly. From a field experiment, evidence suggested that carambola production is inhibited by high application of nitrogen fertilizer. A combination of a low level of N and a high level of K was found beneficial for growth and yield. For example, 0.8 kg N and 4.8 kg K2O/tree/year is recommended for commercial application. Upon further investigation the applying heavy doses of fertilizer exposed the plants to intermittent shocks that manifested in leaf water potential, stomatal conductance and photosynthetic rate. The fruit fly management is the most critical factors in carambola management syatem. The fruit flies known as Bactrocera fruit flies (Dacus dorsalis complex) are the most threatening insect pest of carambola. Without proper control, they can damage all fruits and can lead to a total loss of crops. There are collaboration together with Department of Agriculture, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), MARDI developed PROMAR, a protein bait for fruit flies. A mixture of one part of PROMAR and two parts water/insecticide is recommended to be spot sprayed on a small portion of the foliage, reducing fruit fly damage to less than 2%. This is practical technology to control the pests on carambola industry.

Quality production under netted structures are an alternatives developed to curb fruit fly attack. Traditionally, carambola is planted in an open field. Fruits have to be bagged individually to protect them from pests, which is very labor-intensive. Planting carambola inside a netted structure reduces labor costs and fulfills the stringent requirements of importing countries to comply with global good agricultural practices requirements. This also aims to adhere with the Fruit Fly Free Place of Production (FFFPP) Protocol for exporting to countries such as China and the United States. The carambola mature tree able ti produce optimum yield st 5-8 years of planting. Aside from pests, heavy rains can reduce fruit set. Some Netted structures can reduce the impact of rain on the fruit. This is crucial for October-December, where heavy rain is common. Under netted structures, the total fruit weight per tree was 75 kg, estimated at 33.7 t/ha. Meanwhile, the fruit weight for trees in the open field is only about 6 kg per tree, yielding 2.7 t/ha. After grading, the exportable fruit from trees in netted structures (23.8 t/ha) was higher than those in the open field (2.2 tons/ha). Regarding fruit quality, fruits that are exposed to direct sunlight look bleached and lacked luster and firmness. While bagging under the netted structure is not a requirement, wrapped fruits were observed to be crunchier. Fruits under netted structures also have lower pesticide residue.


Study on preharvest Calcium application is a new finding. 

This is due to the carambola treated with calcium was shown to have thicker and denser cell walls, which lead to firmer fruit texture and wing tips that can reduce bruising damage from handling. ince 1989, carambola exports are have been transported by sea. Fruit handling crucial in long voyages to ensure that the fruits arrive in excellent condition. MARDI developed an index that determined the proper maturity to harvest fruits for specific markets. The recommended packinghouse procedures for sorting, cleaning, grading, and packaging were also determined. Carambola has claimed as 'superfruit from Malaysia' due to its nutrition value. Studies show that carambola is rich in apigenins and procyanidins, which are polyphenols known for health benefiting properties. This fruit also contains phenolic acids such as conjugates of ferulic and sinapic acid. Three types of procynadin are relatively abundant: procynadin dimer, procynadin trimer and a conjugate of procynadin. Procyanidins belong to the class of flavon-3-ols, which are present in green tea. Procynadins are found to be effective scavengers of free radicals and possibly have chemopreventive properties. The contents of phytochemical profile of carambola is unique for the relative abundance of apigenin sugar conjugates. Apigenins are flavones commonly found in celery and sweet red peppers. The synergistic effects of the complex mixture of these compounds may have additive health benefits. With the rich source of different phytonutrients, carambola can be considered as a superfruit t hat can be processed as a functional drink or ingredient. Thanks.



 
By,


M Anem,
Senior Agronomit and Experts,
PPK Carambola Farms,
Tanjung Malim, Perak,
Malaysia.
(10 Rejab 1428H)

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

CARAMBOLA AND NUUTRITION FACTS

STARFRUIT or CARAMBOLA or in Malaysia known as BELIMBING are one of the most nutritious tropical fruits. Star fruit, also known as carambola, is a star-shaped tropical fruit with sweet and sour flavor. Department of Agriculture Malaysia reported about 1,350 hectar of carambola grown in 2016 producing more than 24,200 metric tonnes for domestic and export markets. From my observation at Selangor and Johore (the most planted area) the are 3 most popular  Carambola varieties grown in Malaysia are B10, B17 and B2. Carambola is native to the Malayan peninsula or Malaysia and cultivated in many parts of Southeast Asia, Pacific Islands and China for its fruits. Although abundant and plentiful the carambola fruit trees is yet to gain popularity, especially in the western world eaten as salad. In Malaysia full ripen fruit are very sweet and eat as fresh fruits. From my expertise about carambola or dtarfruits, the scientific name: of this fruit are Averrhoa carambola. The genus Averrhoa includes two well-known sorrels (Oxalidaceae) family of fruiting trees as carambola and the smaller variety are known as BELIMBING BULUH aor Averrhoa bilimbi (also knownas tree cucumber). The fruit is recognized as 'Belimbing Manis' or 'Belimbing Besi' in Malaysia and in many South East Asian regions and 'Kamrakh' in India. As an sxperts train many local and international scientists, I manage to vosot to more than 50 starfruit farms throughout Malaysia. Most of the starfruit farm ain Malaysia re certified with Good Agriculture Practices Scheme known as MyGap and others with MyOrganic. MyGAP certification able to produce high qualitu starfruit for export to Europe. This morning article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I share my experties about the nutrition facts and the importance of starfruit.

Star fruit is a small but looks bushy evergreen tree that grows very well under hot, humid at the tropical conditions. The plant bears small lilac colored, bell-shaped flowers in clusters which subsequently develop into oblong shaped fruits with characteristic five angled edges (sides or ribs) that appear like a starfish in cross sections. Both sweet and sour varieties begin to yield under cultivable orchards, and ready for harvesting when the plants reach about 3 - 4 years old. Carambola fruit features light-green to yellow with attractive smooth waxy surface and weighs about 70-130g. Inside, it's crispy, and juicy pulp can either be mildly sweet or extremely sour depending upon the cultivar type and amount of oxalic acid concentration. In some seed varieties, 2-5 tiny edible seeds found at the center of each angled cavity. Depending on the target markets, starfruit are harvested at index 3 - 4 for Europe Market and 5-6 for domestic markets. Currently the price for export market to Europe range from RM35.00 - RM45.00 per packk of 5 kg per pack. The ripe starfruit normally priced ata RM2.50 - RM4.00 per kilogram.

In further discussion, I would like to share about health benefits of star fruit. Star fruit is one of the very low-calorie exotic fruits. 100 g fruit just provides 31 calories, which is much lower than for any other popular tropical fruits. Nonetheless, it has an impressive list of essential nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins required for well-being. The fruit along with its waxy peel provides a good amount of dietary fiber. Fiber helps prevent absorption of dietary LDL-cholesterol in the gut. The dietary fibers also help protect the mucous membrane of the colon from exposure to toxic substances by binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon. Star fruit contains good quantities of vitamin-C. Vitamin-C is a powerful natural antioxidant. 100 g of fresh fruit provides 34.7 mg or 57% of daily required levels of vitamin-C. In general, consumption of fruits rich in vitamin-C helps the human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body. Star fruit is rich in antioxidant phytonutrient polyphenolic flavonoids. Some of the important flavonoids present are quercetin, epicatechin, and gallic acid. Total polyphenol contents (Folin assay) in this fruit is 143 mg/100 g. Altogether, these compounds help protect from deleterious effects of oxygen-derived free radicals by warding them off the body. Besides, it is a good source of B-complex vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6). Together, these vitamins help as co-factors for enzymes in metabolism as well as in various synthetic functions inside the body. It also carries a small amount of minerals and electrolytes like potassium, phosphorus, and zinc and iron. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure; thus, it counters bad influences of sodium. For medicinal uses the starfruit and its juice are often recommended in many folk medicines in Brazil as a diuretic (to increase urine output), expectorant, and to suppress a cough.  I like to eat fresh starfruit upon plucking from the tree. Thanks.
By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomists,
Carambola Commercial Farms,
Triang, Pahang,
Malaysia.
(5 April 2017)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

FUTURE AGRICULTURE IN MALAYSIA (Part 2)

Malaysia has been very successful in developing the country through organized and focused economic development plans. Globally, Malaysia has been ranked sixth in 2014 on Ease of Doing Business, 20th in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2014- 2015, 33rd in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2014 and 56th in the World Happiness Index (2013). These indicators have proven that Malaysia is capable to promote a new orientation of development focusing towards sustainability and inclusiveness. The development of a nation relies on its citizen’s wellbeing. One of the important factors of citizen’s wellbeing is food production. Food is the backbone of the society. Realising this, the Malaysian government has taken steps to ensure that there is enough food for its population. The emphasis is on self-sustainability. The agro-ecosystem management and agricultural planning has been revamped to ensure sustainability and to include green-friendly values and equitable and inclusiveness of all stake holders. Sustainable development must be inclusive enough to cater and address the population’s wider needs for food, feed, fuel, fibre, furniture, pharmaceuticals and felicity. Constraints such as high implementation cost, and pressing health and environmental concerns require governments to plan their agriculture development towards being trim, mean, focused, not wasteful, savvy, and compliant to the global environmental and health standards. Agro-ecosystem Management Challenges is a factor to be discussed. Malaysia is blessed with fertile soil and abundance of rain since it is located on the world tropical belt. However, to meet the agriculture development objectives Malaysia has to face and overcome social, economic and environmental challenges. This article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I would like to share some basic information with all readers. 


National Priorities on Agro-ecosystem Management
Agriculture has been identified as one of the sectors that can contribute towards Malaysia’s development. Several initiatives to reflect to the importance of sustainable agro-ecosystem management have been included in major national programmes.

Global Science & Innovation Advisory Council (GSIAC)
GSIAC is a strategic platform that aims to bridge the gap between local and international players. One of the GSIAC initiatives is to help Asian countries achieve an environmentally-sustainable high-income economy driven by knowledge and innovation. Malaysia is using this initiative to develop its agriculture sector by focusing on high-technology; market expansion and good agriculture practices which has been identified as the three important thrusts in the effort to transform agriculture into a source of high income for the nation.

National Science and Research Council (NSRC):
 
NSRC is mandated to ensure Malaysia’s investment in science and technology makes the greatest possible contribution to a high-value economy through an increase in productivity, environmental quality, stimulation in R&D and enhancement of skills of the workforce. One of the main focus areas in NSRC is agriculture sciences. NSRC has tabled fifteen top national food security research priorities clustered around four themes as suggested in Global Food Security: Strategic Plan 2011-2016.

Economic Transformation Programme :
The programme aims to transform the industry from small-scaled production-based operations into large-scale agribusinesses that generate sustainable economic growth. This transformation is based on an integrated and market-centric model that comprises four key themes: capitalizing on competitive advantages, tapping premium markets, aligning food security objectives with increasing GNI, and participating in the regional agricultural value chain. The transformation programmes have identified seventeen projects that cover from dietary and herbal development to transformation of “Pasar komuniti” (community market) which are believed to give high impact to Malaysia.
By,
M Anem,
Room 1807, Imperial Hertitage Hotel,
Bandar Hilir,
Melaka, Malaysia.
(17 RabiulAwal 1439H)

Friday, March 9, 2018

FUTURE AGRICULTURE IN MALAYSIA (Part 1)

Malaysia has been very successful in developing the country through organized and focused economic development plans. Globally, Malaysia has been ranked sixth in 2014 on Ease of Doing Business, 20th in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2014- 2015, 33rd in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2014 and 56th in the World Happiness Index (2013). These indicators have proven that Malaysia is capable to promote a new orientation of development focusing towards sustainability and inclusiveness. The development of a nation relies on its citizen’s wellbeing. One of the important factors of citizen’s wellbeing is food production. Food is the backbone of the society. Realising this, the Malaysian government has taken steps to ensure that there is enough food for its population. The emphasis is on self-sustainability. The agro-ecosystem management and agricultural planning has been revamped to ensure sustainability and to include green-friendly values and equitable and inclusiveness of all stake holders. Sustainable development must be inclusive enough to cater and address the population’s wider needs for food, feed, fuel, fibre, furniture, pharmaceuticals and felicity. Constraints such as high implementation cost, and pressing health and environmental concerns require governments to plan their agriculture development towards being trim, mean, focused, not wasteful, savvy, and compliant to the global environmental and health standards. Agro-ecosystem Management Challenges is a factor to be discussed. Malaysia is blessed with fertile soil and abundance of rain since it is located on the world tropical belt. However, to meet the agriculture development objectives Malaysia has to face and overcome social, economic and environmental challenges. This article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I would like to share some basic information with all readers.

(1) Social challenge: 
Malaysia’s population stands at 30,061,121 and is increasing at the rate of 1.8 percent per annum. Increased population increases food demand. Malaysia has not been able to be self-reliance in terms of food supply and still has to depend on import. Current, approximately RM34.5 billion is spent on food import.

(2) Economic challenge :
Malaysia targets to be a high income nation with annual per capita income of RM48,000 by 2020. In 2013, Malaysia’s per capita income is RM33,010. The agriculture sector is seen as one of the major contributors towards achieving this target. The government has allocated RM3 billion annually in an effort to encourage the development of agribusinesses and manage the supply of agricultural commodities, besides creating job opportunities and reduces unemployment which currently stands at 3 percent. The amount allocated includes food subsidy.

(3) Environmental challenge :
Climate change is another challenge that effects agriculture development. Every year Malaysia spends an average of RM3 billion to mitigate natural disaster, particularly flood. In Peninsular Malaysia alone, 29,000 square km of land area has been identified as flood prone, affecting approximately 4.82 million peoples.


Apart from natural disaster, Malaysia is also facing shortage of land for agriculture production. Urbanisation has increased competition for land. Of the total land area of 328,550 square km only 78,700 square km is allocated for agriculture, and only 5.48 percent of which is reserved for plantation development. To be continue in Part 2,3,4 and 5. 
By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Room 1807, Imperial Heritage Hotel,
Bandar Hilir, Melaka,
Malaysia.

(19 RabiulAwal 1439H)

Sunday, March 4, 2018

FUTURE AGRICULTURE IN MALAYSIA (Part 6)

Malaysia has been very successful in developing the country through organized and focused economic development plans. Globally, Malaysia has been ranked sixth in 2014 on Ease of Doing Business, 20th in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2014- 2015, 33rd in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2014 and 56th in the World Happiness Index (2013). These indicators have proven that Malaysia is capable to promote a new orientation of development focusing towards sustainability and inclusiveness. The development of a nation relies on its citizen’s wellbeing. One of the important factors of citizen’s wellbeing is food production. Food is the backbone of the society. Realising this, the Malaysian government has taken steps to ensure that there is enough food for its population. The emphasis is on self-sustainability. The agro-ecosystem management and agricultural planning has been revamped to ensure sustainability and to include green-friendly values and equitable and inclusiveness of all stake holders. Sustainable development must be inclusive enough to cater and address the population’s wider needs for food, feed, fuel, fibre, furniture, pharmaceuticals and felicity. Constraints such as high implementation cost, and pressing health and environmental concerns require governments to plan their agriculture development towards being trim, mean, focused, not wasteful, savvy, and compliant to the global environmental and health standards. Agro-ecosystem Management Challenges is a factor to be discussed. Malaysia is blessed with fertile soil and abundance of rain since it is located on the world tropical belt. However, to meet the agriculture development objectives Malaysia has to face and overcome social, economic and environmental challenges. This article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I would like to share some basic information with all readers. 

(1) Opportunity in Economy
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development estimates the potential additional sustainability-related business opportunities will generate annual value of USD1.2 trillion from agriculture and food sector by 2050. Youth participation is crucial for the development of the agriculture sector. Opportunity to attract youth should be intensified as current statistic has shown increased interest - 15 percent of 826,000 agripreneurs are youth. The government has to create infrastructure and support system to encourage this development. For example, the establishment of Halal Hub to promote and produce halal food and standardization like MyGAP that helps to bring the agriculture produce into the more lucrative markets. Besides, there are a lot of future opportunities in agriculture across other sectors that could be explored, such as Agriculture cities and integration, and agriculture related industries such as tourism, education and construction.

(2) Technology in Economy
Although agricultural contribution to GDP declined over the years to 7.3 percent in 2010, current trends, technology and new initiative in this sector could provide opportunity for Malaysia’s economy. Opportunities from technology such as energy efficiency, low-emission energy supply, precision farming, and robotics and automation are a few examples to generate economic opportunity to Malaysia.

(a) Energy Efficiency
Energy inputs in agriculture sector are found in every stage of production – from applying chemicals (e.g. pesticides, fertilizers), to fuel tractors that harvest crops, to supplying electricity for animal housing facilities. Inefficiency in using these energy inputs would lead farmers to bear the high energy costs. Inefficiency would also create volatile energy market fluctuations that impact fertilizer costs.

(b) Low-Emission Energy Supply
Technology that helps reduce the impact on environment by shifting energy supply from fossil fuels to less polluting alternatives such as solar, wind, nuclear and hydropower for electricity generation or using biofuel as direct sources of energy.

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Room 1807, Imperial Heritage Hotel,
Bandar Hilir, Melaka,
Malaysia.
(19 RabiulAwal 1439H)