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Saturday, April 8, 2017

URBAN FARMING CONSTRAINS IN MALAYSIA

The importance of Urban agriculture, urban farming or urban gardening is the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around a village, town, or city are more popular topis nowadays. The urban agriculture can also involve animal husbandry, aquaculture, agroforestry, urban beekeeping, and horticulture. But nevetherless urban farming constraints always discussed among the players. For me, traditionally, agriculture activity is taking place in the rural area which is prone to input constraints like land factor. Urban farming also has to deal with water supply for irrigation, space for residential and farming purposes, potential hazard and is also considered harmful to agricultural inputs and outputs such as organic fertilizers, agricultural wastes, chemical residues and pollutants. In Malaysia, the population growth contributed to the increasing population density from 88 people per sq. km in 2011 to 92 people per sq. km in 2014. The most populated state in Malaysia is Selangor with 668 people per sq. km in 2010. It had increased more than three times for the past three decades excluding the capital of Kuala Lumpur. Selangor is among the important states which indicate the diversity of economics sectors in Malaysia such as services, manufacturing and agriculture. It shows the apparent constraints and crisis to harmonize between spaces and environment for human living and the spaces for food production. Therefore, the practitioners of urban farming have to share the scarcity of land and water with human needs and to choose the suitable technologies which can solve space and water problems in urban farming activities. Crops need to be fertilized in order to ensure healthy growth. There are various fertilizing techniques and methods, which can be applied to the plants. However, some of the techniques and inputs are not environmentally friendly and are very harmful to humans. There are other constraints faced by people in the practice of urban farming. Therefore, there are needs that need to be identified which include suitable fertilizer and techniques to apply in urban farming. All the suitable practices to overcome constraints are welcomed by the public. Therefore, urban farming does need the right technologies and techniques to deal with the issues.

 
Recently the urban farming technologies and techniques has been mordenised. Among the techniques used in urban farming are aeroponics, aquaponics, hydroponics, fertigation, rooftop (See above photo), and vertical farming. Aeroponics is a modern technique for growing plants in air without the use of soil. Aquaponics or also known as “pisciponics”, involves a special technique. Aquaponic's technique is a sustainable food production system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. Hydroponics and fertigation have almost the same method that aims to ensure that the nutrients can be supplied directly to the roots of the plants and prevent root disease. Rooftop approach becomes one of the most popular techniques for quick and simple farming. In this technique, an abandoned empty roof space can be used to grow suitable crops such as tomatoes and chillies. On top of that, the vertical farming technique is categorized as very efficient as compared to conventional cultivation techniques due to crops grown vertically and more crop production using limited land space. This artice are adapted from a presented paper in urban agriculture seminar where I attended in Kuala Lumpur recently. Thanks!..


By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
13th Floor, Condominium Anggerik,
Seri Kembangan, Selangor,
Malaysia.
(4 Rejab 1438H)

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