Saturday, February 3, 2018


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.

(1) Economic opportunity

(a) Opportunity in Environment Sustainability
There are high awareness in green agriculture or environmental friendly approach in agriculture activities is the best way to keep the environment clean and sustainable. Adopting green technology in agriculture would create sustainable agriculture practices and promote agro-ecology and sustainable ecosystems. The effort to raise public awareness on sustainability, and public participation in activities such as food health literacy, green life style and waste to wealth, could contribute to achieving environment sustainability.

(b) Technology in Environment Sustainability
The vertical farming as one way of farming is cultivating plant or animal life within a skyscraper greenhouse or on vertically inclined surfaces. Advantages for vertical farming include no weather-related crop failures due to droughts, floods, pests and all vertical farming food are grown organically with no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers. Integrated farming and waste management to reduce erosion, increase crop yields, nutrient recycling, strengthen environmental sustainability. An integrated farming system consists of a range of resource-saving practices that aims to achieve acceptable high profits and sustained production levels, while minimizing the negative effects of intensive farming and preserving the environment.

(c) Aquaculture:
Aquaponic is a sustainable food production system that combines conventional aquaculture with modern methods of raising aquatic animals such as fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks. In aquaculture, effluents accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity for the fish. This water is led to a hydroponic system where the by-products from the aquaculture are broken down by nitrogen-fixing bacteria, then filtered out by the plants as nutrients, after which the cleaned water is recirculated back to the animals

(d) Smart Sprinkler and Drip Irrigation System
Smart sprinkler and drip irrigation system is an approach to reduce production cost as smart systems use water only when needed. The system also save production time as the irrigation installer has programmed the site data into the smart system, where the controller adjusts the watering schedule based upon local conditions and/or soil moisture and by zone. Agro ecosystem management could lead to better economy for the nation. This could be achieved through investment to reduce poverty and improve production and efficiency. Growth of commercial agriculture could deliver approximately 40 – 50 percent of needed productivity increases, contribute to economic activity, and scale up sustainable practices. But foreign investments, if there is a need for them, must be balanced against fear of land grabs and concerns about the safety of new technologies.

(2) Issues and challenges in economy

Agriculture sector contribution to Malaysia GDP has shown declining trends since 1970 to 2010, from 28.8 to 7.3 percent, respectively. However this phenomenon is normal in the cycle of development. The main contribution towards this trend is the lack of employment in the agriculture sector. This condition is being experienced globally where employment in the agriculture stands at only 37.3 percent of total employment. As for Malaysia, only 13.3 percent of total employment is in agriculture, forestry and fishing. Lack of involvement of youth is one of the reasons for the lack of labour in this sector. Youth are not interested to make agriculture as their career due to “poor man’s sector” mindset. This leads to the increased of foreign workers in the country.
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Room 1807, Imperial Heritage Hotel,
Bandar Hilir, Melaka,
(19 RabiulAwal 1439H)

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