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Saturday, September 9, 2017

URBAN AGRICULTURE - MALAYSIAN POLICIES

URBAN AGRICULTURE (or in Malays known as Pertanian Bandar) can be defined shortly as the growing of plants and the raising of animals within and around cities. The most striking feature of urban agriculture, which distinguishes it from rural agriculture, is that it is integrated into the urban economic and ecological system whereby urban agriculture is embedded in -and interacting with- the urban ecosystem. Such linkages include the use of urban residents as the source of labourers, use of typical urban resources (like organic waste as compost and urban wastewater for irrigation), direct links with urban consumers, direct impacts on urban ecology (positive and negative), being part of the urban food system, competing for land with other urban functions, being influenced by urban policies and plans, etc. Urban agriculture is not a relict of the past that will fade away (urban agriculture increases when the city grows) nor brought to the city by rural immigrants that will lose their rural habits over time. It is an integral part of the urban system. I write about 'Pertanian bandar' in my other blogs "Anim Agro Technology" that able to linked at animhosnan.blogspot.com. This article I would like to share some related policies and guidance in urban agriculture in Malaysia.

Policies on urban farming in Malaysia are seriously discussed in early 11th Malaysian Plan. There are a few policies in place which are used to promote and support urban farming in Malaysia indirectly. The main policy measure is stated in the National Agro-food Policy (NAP) 2011-2020 which steered the development of the Malaysian agriculture sector. The policy was formulated to address challenges in domestic and global markets to ensure sustainable production for food security and safety. The policy has been put in place to tackle the issue of sustainable agriculture, land scarcity, climate change, human and environmental degradation, and the competitiveness of the agro-food industry with food safety and nutrition aspects along its value chain. It also aims to reform and transform the agro-food industry to become a more modern and dynamic sector. The modernization of the agriculture sector was important, which enables the agriculture activities to be operated in more productive ways, whether in rural or urban areas. The policy emphasized on the use of more modern and dynamic technologies, which is flexible and suitable for limited space such as urban and peri-urban environment. The variety of technologies such as vertical farming, hydroponics, and urban farming kits have been developed by government agencies. Under the Urbanization Program, the National Green Technology Policy (2009) and Green Earth Program (2005) were seen as being relevant to alleviate urban agriculture with particular emphasis on environmental, economic, and social concerns. The three pillars are aimed at improving the quality of life and economic development through the use of technologies and minimize the impact on the environment. The Green Earth Program is intended to encourage farming practices to help reduce expenses per household. The involvement of urban folks in urban farming is expected to reduce their cost of living and improve their economy and well-being. The Putra Jaya Government Administration Center has started the urban farming program by introducing ‘Edible Gardens’ and ‘Community Gardens’. This is to create the awareness and responsibility among communities especially those focused on Putrajaya residents to share the nation’s aspirations.

There is an urgent need for urban farming in Malaysia due to the food crisis and socio-economic needs. Although urban farming agenda in Malaysia is still in the early stages, a strategic effort from government as the key players and various parties, especially promoter, urban farmers and community is able to make its progress. Urban farming can be fully materialized if there is a holistic infrastructure, technologies, and communities, which are important. The government efforts to encourage urban community to participate in the greening program is well accepted. Special attention needs to be given to urban farming and for all that, it should be an outstanding part in the government policy towards sustainable development in line with current needs. Additionally, perhaps as a strategy to realize the policy leveraging agricultural investments is through education and training. They should be implemented to empower knowledge, awareness and attitude of young generations towards urban farming. It is the most important element to improve the cities and provide better services according to the needs of the population. Urban farming is seen as an innovative approach to improve access to healthy food, and simultaneously, boost the economy and society. There is also a need to conduct relevant studies that can help develop policies to encourage more Malaysians to be involved in urban farming. Thanks for sharing this information.

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
agriculture Station,
Serdang, Selangor,
Malaysia.
(6 Rejab 1438H)
3 April 2017.
PUBLISHED ON 9/9/2017

1 comment:

  1. En M Anem, Senior Agronomist.

    Been reading your interesting posts for a while now. Is there a way to contact you directly? By Email or phone?

    My contact details are Email: shakeel.abedi@gmail.com Phone: +60137737244

    Would be greatly interested in picking that extremely knowledgeable brain of yours. Have so many questions and information that I need from you.


    Hope to hear from you.

    ReplyDelete