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.
Precint 11, Putrajaya,
(29 March 1438H)