Sunday, January 29, 2023

REVISIT FOOD SECURITY IN MALAYSIA (PART 2)

FOOD SECURITY
exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life as defined by World Food Summit, 1996). It consists of component such as Food availability: The availability of sufficient quantities of food of appropriate quality, supplied through domestic production or imports (including food aid). Food access: Access by individuals to adequate resources (entitlements) for acquiring appropriate foods for a nutritious diet. Entitlements are defined as the set of all commodity bundles over which a person can establish command given the legal, political, economic and social arrangements of the community in which they live (including traditional rights such as access to common resources). Food Utilization: Utilization of food through adequate diet, clean water, sanitation and health care to reach a state of nutritional well-being where all physiological needs are met. This brings out the importance of non-food inputs in food security. Food Stability: To be food secure, a population, household or individual must have access to adequate food at all times. They should not risk losing access to food as a consequence of sudden shocks (e.g. an economic or climatic crisis) or cyclical events (e.g. seasonal food insecurity). The concept of stability can therefore refer to both the availability and access dimensions of food security. This article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I would like to rewrite about food security in Malaysia revisited.

A closer examination reveals that this indicator includes assessing whether the country's government has made food security a focus area and priority and has a clear food security strategy. Notably reported that for years, from 2012 to 2020, Malaysia has been receiving a zero score on this measure from food security experts. For the same period, from 2012 to date, the experts have also been highly sceptical of the Malaysian government's ability to be held responsible and accountable for whether it has invested in and taken a coordinated approach to achieve food security. In GFSI 2021 Malaysia has finally received a score of 50 for food security and access policy commitment mainly due to the formation of a National Food Security Council. However, further analysis reveals this event did not change Malaysia's food security equation. Further examination into the current (successor) policy (NAP 2.0) clearly points to the underwhelming performance of its predecessor, NAP 1.0.

Malaysia experienced marginal improvements or even reductions in the self-sufficiency level (SSL) of major food items between 2010 to 2020. Most food items decreased (in red), while only three recorded growths (in black), which are all very marginal. Notably, rice SSL is below its 70 per cent SSL target in NAP 1.0, and some contractions in food item SSL appear contrary to its growth demand - pointing to higher dependency on imports. For example, milk experienced a significant SSL decrease despite being the highest consumption growth (11.61 per cent CAGR 2010-2020), and beef and mutton experienced significantly declining SSL despite significant consumption growth (4.14 per cent CAGR; 2010-2020), as reported in NAP 2.0. Between 2010 to 2020 Malaysia also experienced a declining share of agriculture GDP contribution, indicating a higher focus on other sectors and/or reduced reliance on agriculture for the Malaysian economy.

Note that the NAP 2.0 document shows the 2020 forecast figure, while DOSM reported that the contribution of the agriculture sector to Malaysia's GDP in 2020 is 7.4 per cent - slightly higher than the forecast. Of course, we recognise that Malaysia may experience further decline in agriculture GDP contribution due to logistics and export restriction measures during the lockdown periods. Be that as it may, in the background of marginal growth/contraction of SSL for major food items, increasing food demand can only be met by increasing imports. Especially when in presence of a declining share of agricultural GDP contribution, the reduced SSL reflects decreasing local production capacities for major food items. Fair enough, the NAP 2.0 reported an increasing trade deficit between 2010 to 2020, and a widening production-consumption gap. Indeed, the policy document reported that the major agrofood consumption rate is more than the growth rate of the production, with the only exception of rice which saw a slightly declining local demand, and that consumption would likely surpass local production capacities should the trend continue. These indicate increasing reliance on imports to fulfil local demand and point to increased reliance on external supply chains to support the domestic needs of the agrofood sector. 
This article divided in 4 segmen that is Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 respectively. Thanks...

By,
M Anem,
Putrajaya,
Malaysia.
(January 2023).

Monday, January 23, 2023

REVISIT FOOD SECURITY IN MALAYSIA (PART 1)

FOOD SECURITY
exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life as defined by World Food Summit, 1996). It consists of component such as Food availability: The availability of sufficient quantities of food of appropriate quality, supplied through domestic production or imports (including food aid). Food access: Access by individuals to adequate resources (entitlements) for acquiring appropriate foods for a nutritious diet. Entitlements are defined as the set of all commodity bundles over which a person can establish command given the legal, political, economic and social arrangements of the community in which they live (including traditional rights such as access to common resources). Food Utilization: Utilization of food through adequate diet, clean water, sanitation and health care to reach a state of nutritional well-being where all physiological needs are met. This brings out the importance of non-food inputs in food security. Food Stability: To be food secure, a population, household or individual must have access to adequate food at all times. They should not risk losing access to food as a consequence of sudden shocks (e.g. an economic or climatic crisis) or cyclical events (e.g. seasonal food insecurity). The concept of stability can therefore refer to both the availability and access dimensions of food security. This article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I would like to rewrite about food security in Malaysia revisited.

As history 
shows that Malaysia has never been short of policies related to agriculture or food. Ironically, policy abundance has proven insufficient to ensure food security.  Past policies have proven inconsistent in terms of self-sufficiency targets and many major food items still rely on import supplementations. Food items with 100 per cent or more self-sufficiency levels still rely on significant external inputs. Policy commitment and implementation remain a central issue, underlined by structural, economic, and governance weaknesses. The first to the Third National Agricultural Policy spanning the 1980s to 2010 focused on addressing rural poverty and bridging the economic gap between small-scale and large-scale farmers, increasing sustainable food production and competitiveness. According to the Economic Planning Unit under the Prime Minister's department, the National Agrofood Policy 2011-2020 (NAP 1.0) was supposed to address food security and safety to ensure availability, affordability and accessibility, ensure the competitiveness and sustainability of the agrofood industry, and increase the income level of agropreneurs. In general, investigating Malaysia's current status points to the failure of a decade-worth of NAP 1.0 in key dimensions of food security.

A closer look into a well-known global index on food security informs us of Malaysia's worrying food security status despite mouthful policy objectives that seemingly encapsulate everything. Global geopolitical events of the last two years also revealed the substance of these policies resulting in Malaysia's food insecurities. Looking at historical figures for Malaysia's scores on the four dimensions of food security used in the Global Food Security Index (GFSI) 2021 - Affordability, Availability, Quality & Safety and Natural Resources and Resilience - it may seem that our relative ranking or score in certain dimensions such as affordability and quality and safety aren't that bad, especially when compared with other countries that are performing poorly as well. However, we have to investigate deeper, to see if these scores and relative comparisons adequately represent the actual situation on the ground. The availability and natural resource resilience dimensions suffered greatly over the past decade. Malaysia dipped well-below global average in the middle of the last decade and remained below (and getting worse) in the natural resource resilience dimension. In the GFSI-2020 indicators, we observe a negative difference with the high-performing countries in the Asia-Pacific region as a group. Although Malaysia appears on a par with the top-performing countries on the affordability dimension, comparing Malaysia's score with the median score for high-performing countries in GFSI 2020 and 2021 reveals that the country's market access and agricultural financial services are significantly lagging.  Malaysia scored low on the availability of diversified financial products for all farmers (including small-holders) and access to market data and mobile banking which has been on a declining trend since 2016. Additionally, the availability dimension tops the list of problematic areas for Malaysia. The remarkable difference is Malaysia's low score on the indicator of food security and access policy commitments in GFSI 2020. This article divided in 4 segmen that is Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 respectively. Thanks...
By,
M Anem,
Putrajaya,
Malaysia.
(January 2023).

Friday, January 13, 2023

MALAYSIAN PREMIUM DURIAN - THE REVIEW

DURIAN
(Durio zibethinus) is the most popular fruit grown in Malaysia due its return and marketing. There are 85,388 hectare durian grown in Malaysia and producing for 459,747 metric tons in 2022 (Source: Booklet Keluasan Tanaman Makanan, Jabatan Pertanian Malaysia, 2022)
Talk about an overview of Malaysian Durian Production, Export, and Price Fresh Durian from various sources relate to durian industry in Malaysia interesting. In the past 5 years reported that the harvest area for durian in Malaysia has been growing as durian is one of the most profitable fruits for farmers and exporters. The Malaysian Musang King durian has one of the highest Brix levels out of all durian varieties with a Brix level between 39 and 44. From my observation that the Malaysian durian industry also receives a lot of support from the government. For example, for many years the government through Department of Agriculture (DOA) and FAMA helps market Malaysian durians across the world and educates farmers on production techniques, as durian is a difficult fruit to grow. In addition, from my observation that the government also subsidizes farming lands for durian. Department of Agriculture releases millions ringgit each year for new durian planting incentives. But the most active local farmers mostly mooted by their own capital to grow commercial durian farm. This article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" January 2023 new year I would like to discuss on durian status review.

As reported that of the several varieties of durian produced and exported in Malaysia in which the Musang King variety (D197) is the most popular variety. Around 65% - 70% of Musang King variety is produced in the states call Pahang, located in central Malaysia in which I served for 2 years there as the DOA State Agriculture Director. The area is hilly and mountainous and has moderate weather due to the high altitude. The hilly landscape allows the durian trees in this region to absorb less water because less water is stored in the soil as water runs off the hill when it rains. This allows durians grown in this region to be less watery and have firmer, stickier textures. During those years in 2018 as I remember that the Musang King production volume was between 18,000 - 25,000 tons and the production is expected to increase by 15%% in 2019. According to report by Pahang State Department of Agriculture that the production volume is expected to reach 40K-50K tons in the next five years. Talk on competition and Price about Musang King variety is very popular for both domestically and internationally. Firstly, compared to other varieties such as Dalit or Black Thorn reported that the Musang King variety has a longer shelf-life of 8 days in which is approximately 2 days longer than other varieties. Secondly, the quality and taste of the Musang King variety are more consistent compared to other varieties. For me this variety is less prone to damages from weather conditions. Thirdly, the variety has smaller seeds than other varieties so there is more flesh available for consumption.

In other scenario as I study in which the biggest competition for Malaysian durians comes from Thailand. In the global market reported that Thai durians are priced lower than the Malaysian durian and have longer shelf lives. It because Thai producers control the ripeness of their exported durians. Whereas Malaysian producers only harvest 100% ripe durians that have fallen from the trees. The Thai producers harvest durians before they are fully ripened to increase their shelf lives. According to FAMA in practice that the Malaysian producers can also harvest their durian at lower ripeness to increase the shelf life. However, harvesting the durians early compromises their quality and the Brix level does not reach its maximum potential. As a result, the Malaysian Musang King variety is creamier and sweeter than the Thai Monthong durian are the main exported variety by Thailand (See photo above). The Brix level for the Musang King variety is between 39 and 44 whereas the Brix level for Monthong variety is only between 26 and 28. The price of Malaysian Musang King durian is higher than Thai Monthong durian. During the peak season between July and August each in which the FOB price is around 6 USD per kg and the price goes up as the supply goes down. Currently from my observation the Malaysian durian supply is low and as a result, the FOB price is 21.5 USD per kg. As durian production in Malaysia is expected to increase at a rapid rate over the next few years in which the prices are also expected to decline in the future.

Premium durian varieties are a fresh commodity for domestic and export market. Currently that Malaysia is the 3rd largest durian exporting country in the world, following Thailand. In recent years Malaysia exported around 23.4K tons of durians valued at around 30 million USD. Out of that 90% of the total export volume of Malaysian fresh durians goes to Singapore. Although durian is mainly consumed in Asian countries, but study found that the demand for durian is growing in the West due to an increasing number of Asian immigrants in countries such as the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia. China is the largest market for durian in the world. In 2018 reported that China imported around 1.1 billion USD worth of durians, representing 60% of the global import value and increased every year. In early years unfortunately Malaysia cannot export fresh durians to China until starting May 30th, 2019, that the Chinese government granted permission to Malaysian exporters to export frozen durians to China. The opening of the Chinese market presents opportunities for Malaysian durian exporters. In initial stage of 2019, reported that 65% of the company’s durian exports will be frozen. Besides frozen whole durians few companies also export frozen durian pulp and paste. Durian industry in Malaysia is the most popular activities in which many oil palm tree changed to durian plantation in recent years. Hope for brighter future in premium durian production in the future. Thanks...

By,
M Anem,
Melaka,
Malaysia.
(January 2023).

Saturday, January 7, 2023

OIL PALM NANOCELLULOSE

OIL PALM
 (Elaeis guineensis) is among important commodity in Malaysia since long ago. Currently there are more than 1.4 million hectare of oil palm grown in Malaysia as one of the largest palm oil producers in the world. However, the Oil Palm Empty Fruit Bunch (OPEFB) is considered the cheapest natural fiber with good properties and exists abundantly in Malaysia. It has great potential as an alternative main raw material to substitute woody plants as an important industry. Currently it was told that the well-known Polymeric Hydrogel has gathered a lot of interest due to its three-dimensional (3D) cross-linked network with high porosity. However, for some issues regarding its performance such as poor interfacial connectivity and mechanical strength have been raised so that nanocellulose has been introduced. In some research done by many local institutions in which the plantation of oil palm in Malaysia is discussed to show the potential of OPEFB as a nanocellulose material in hydrogel production is potentially develop. Nanocellulose can be categorized into three nano-structured celluloses in which it differs in the processing method. The most popular nanocellulose hydrogel processing methods are in few techniques. The 3D printing method is taking the lead in current hydrogel production due to its high complexity and the need for hygiene products. Some of the latest advanced applications are used to show the high approach of commercialization potential of nanocellulose hydrogel products. There are challenges and future direction of nanocellulose hydrogel. OPEFB claimed has met the requirements of the marketplace and product value chains as nanocellulose raw materials in many ways for the hydrogel applications. This article at "Anim Agriculture Technology" I am happy to discuss about the potential of the oil palm nanocellulose hydrogel for implementation in Malaysia for the future and reading purposes.

The word 'Nanocellulose' in oil palm industry are not new for many researchers. Nanocellulose is a renewable nanomaterial with many potential applications in advanced materials, biomedical, and food packaging. It has outstanding properties like being lightweight, stiff, non-toxic, a high tensile index, and is most abundant on Earth. It can be derived from any resource material such as lignocellulosic fibers or so-called natural fibers that can be found in 2000 plant species. Natural fibers consist of three main components include cellulose, lignin, and hemicellulose. Other components such as the extractives of polar and non-polar components can also be extracted from natural fibers. In other words, the natural fibers are composed of cellulose microfibrils that are structured in a matrix together with lignin and hemicelluloses components. Natural fibers depend very much on the cellulose type that is related to crystalline composition. The mechanical properties of natural fibers are influenced by the organization of crystalline composition. A single cell of natural plant fibers has a 1 - 50 mm length and 10 - 50 m diameter that are formed from the cellulose microfibrils. The microfibrils are formed of 30-100 cellulose molecules with a diameter of 10-30 nm. Many types of extraction methods are applied to isolate the fibers from the natural plant stem.

Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC)
and cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) are two types of common cellulose with a particle size diameter that ranges from 10 to 50 μm and 3 to 5 nm, respectively. In addition, MCC is isolated via sulfuric acid (H2SO4) treatment, while CNC is isolated via acid hydrolysis. In terms of structure, MCC has crystalline structures of multi-sized cellulose microfibril aggregates that appear in bundles, while NCC exists as whiskers or known as rod-shaped in crystalline regions. Nanocellulose can be categorized into three nano-structured cellulose: (i) CNF, (ii) CNC, and (iii) BNC. These nanocelluloses differ based on the method of production. To date, huge numbers of research have used OPEFB as the raw material to produce CNF and CNC. However, study on bacterial nanocellulose, which is made of OPEFB cellulose nanofibrils that involve bacteria or enzymatic polymerization is not available. The CNF and CNC can be self-prepared via chemical, mechanical, or combination methods. Most studies have incorporated nanocellulose in the manufacture of composites, paper, or film. However, to address the issue of low mechanical strength, absorbability, or transparency of the regenerated cellulose membrane or the hydrogel, the incorporation of nanocellulose is very practical. The mechanical strength is successfully enhanced by employing nanocellulose as the additive. These improvements can be applied for high-end applications such as for water filtration, mulching mat, wound healing patch, and other applicable products. The increase in some properties like mechanical strength will have a significant impact on the usage of the products. Unnecessary pretreatments or processes that will increase the production cost could be eliminated. For instance, in the papermaking process, the addition of nanocellulose can reduce the beating revolution which will indirectly reduce the energy consumption and production costs. At the same time, a better fiber bond can still be achieved.

Cellulose Nanofibers (CNF) from OPEFB ar the CNF prepared by hydrolyzing OPEFB with sulfuric acid has an average width of 1–3.5 nm by varying the time of hydrolysis. A longer period of hydrolysis produces nanofibers with better yield, lower degree of polymerization, and crystallinity. The CNF extracted from OPEFB using chemo-mechanical processes such as H2SO4 hydrolysis and high-pressure homogenization produced CNF with sizes of 5 to 10 nm. CNF can also be extracted from OPEFB through the ultrasound effect during the stages and can be obtained after the soda-anthraquinone pulping and bleaching processes. An ultrasound equipped with the frequency of 20 kHz and the output power of 700 W was used to produce CNF with a diameter of 5 to 23 nm. MFCs can be prepared using two different techniques: ammonium persulfate oxidation and sulfuric acid hydrolysis. Both techniques produced MFCs of long and network-like fibrils with widths ranging from 8 to 40 nm. One study isolated CNF from OPEFB via the thermal-chemical process followed by nano-grinding treatment. The produced nanocellulose had a morphological dimensional change from 8.25 μm to 17.85 nm. Another study also used the isolation of OPEFB to produce lignocellulose nanofibers (LCNFs) by applying multi mechanical stages with varied vibration milling times. The external surface of the produced nanofibers was uneven, irregular, folding, and unsmooth, with an optimal size of 53.72-446.80 nm. The cellulose OPEFB fiber can be converted into MFC and CNF through peracetic acid delignification followed by enzyme hydrolysis. The enzyme hydrolysis can be used as a method to transform cellulose into MFC, but it does not have the capability to become a nanocellulose. Hastuti et al. (2019) characterized CNF derived from OPEFB that could produce by 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine 1-oxyl (TEMPO)/NaBr/NaClO. The crystallinity indices (CrIs) were identified to range from 34% to 55% by using x-ray diffraction (XRD). High-performance nanomaterials like TEMPO-oxidized CNF were successfully prepared with good characteristics from low-quality biomass waste such as OPEFB. Other recent work prepared nanocelluloses from chemically purified celluloses of oil palm empty fruit bunch (CPC-OPEFB) by using acid hydrolysis. The nanocelluloses from CPC-OPEFB were prepared with sulfuric acid treatment at the concentration of 67 wt% at 40 ± 1 °C for 10, 20, 30, and 40 min. The particle size analysis proved that the diameter of the obtained nanocelluloses was affected by the hydrolysis time. The best hydrolysis time to obtain the smallest diameter of CNFs from CPC-OPEFB was 30 min.

In the making of film a study by Lani et al. (2014) that has prepared nanocellulose from OPEFB fiber that had a 4 - 15 nm diameter. The nanocellulose was applied to reinforce the polyvinyl alcohol/starch blend films, and 5% (v/v) of nanocellulose formulated the best nanocomposites with the tensile strength of 5.694 MPa. Salehudin et al. (2014) incorporated nanocellulose extracted from OPEFB to enhance the mechanical properties of starch-based polymers. The CNF was prepared by hydrolyzing OPEFB with 64% H2SO4 at 45 °C for 90 min and obtained nanofibers with diameters of 50 to 90 nm. The incorporation of 2% nanofiber enhanced the starch-based film up to 28% in terms of tensile strength. Another study found that 1 wt% of OPEFB nanocellulose reinforced poly (vinyl alcohol)-α-chitin composite films were improved by 57.64% and 50.66% of tensile strength and young’s modulus, respectively.  Nanocellulose is also used in preparing nanopaper. Ferrer et al. (2012) prepared dissimilar cellulose pulps of sulfur-free chemical treatments of OPEFB. The pulps were microfluidized to obtain CNF, which was used to manufacture nanopaper via an overpressure device. The nanopaper had lesser water absorption, higher tensile strengths (107-137 MPa), and higher elastic modulus (12-18 GPa). A superadsorbent was produced from OPEFB for water remediation through sulfuric and phosphoric acid hydrolysis with activated carbon. The occurrence of sulfonic groups achieved better remediation capabilities on the NCS compared to NCP. The performance was doubled compared to the sample of rice-straw NC by having a metal adsorption capability to Pb2+ with 86% efficiency and 24.94 mg/g adsorption capacity.

The Cellulose Nanocrystal (CNC) from OPEFB studied successfully isolated MCC from OPOPEFB-total chlorine free pulp. The acid hydrolysis method was applied using the TCF pulp bleaching that was done via the oxygen-ozone-hydrogen peroxide bleaching sequence. The produced MCC had 87% of crystallinity, which had good thermal stability. CNC was also isolated from OPEFB-total chlorine free bleached pulp by the acid hydrolysis of 58% sulfuric acid concentration continued by ultrasonic treatment. The optimal hydrolysis time was 80 min for CNC with dimensions of 150 nm in length and 6.5 nm in diameter. It was proven that the CNC could be practically produced from chlorine free pulp, which are known as environmentally benign processes as they save energy and reduce chemical usage. Pujiasih et al. (2018) focused on the silylation of MCC from OPEFB via the aminosilane compound synthesized through the aminolysis of 3-glycidoxypropyltrimethoxysilane with ethylenediamine. Three steps were involved: (i) bleaching process, (ii) alkaline treatment, and (iii) acid hydrolysis. Budhi et al. (2018) used OPEFB as raw material to obtain CNC. They managed to produce 44.8% yield of CNC from dried OPEFB with a diameter of about 140 nm and crystallinity index at 73.3%. Septevani et al. (2019) synthesized and able to be characterized nanocellulose obtained from OPEFB via strong H2SO4 and mild acid (H3PO4) hydrolysis at 50 °C for 3.5 h. A rod-like and long filament-shaped nanocellulose was obtained from the strong and mild acid hydrolysis, respectively. The degree of crystallinity was higher from the strong acid hydrolysis (96%), compared to that of the mild acid hydrolysis (86%). As an initiative to reduce the agglomeration problem was carried out and the CNC from OPEFB was prepared using the TEMPO (2,2,6,6-Tetramethylpiperidinyloxy or 2,2,6,6-Tetramethylpiperidine 1-oxyl)-oxidation reaction method. The drying and solvent exchanged techniques were applied in the post-treatment step, and the agglomeration of NCC due to the hydrogen bonding among cellulose linkages was minimized. From another study showed that the application of 1-10% CNC as a reinforcement material in the composite exhibited good transparency and visibility by obtaining more than 80% of visible light transparency at 550 nm. The CNC from OPEFB was produced by using chemical pulping such as soda pulping, followed by the 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxy (TEMPO) oxidation reaction method. The produced NCC was used to enhance the polylactic acid (PLA) biopolymer film matrix by 0-20% of loadings. The NCC had a rod-like shape of 2-6 nm in width and 200-500 nm in length. We hope this article able to provide information to all. Thanks.
Rewrite by,
M Anem,
Putrajaya,
Malaysia.
(November 2022).

Thursday, January 5, 2023

COCONUT PRODUCT BAN DUE TO MONKEY?

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2023!....
IN THAILAND
reported that '
Target' will no longer sell coconut milk made by the Thai company known as Chaokoh after an investigation alleged the drink is tied to forced monkey labor, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced Monday. By dropping Chaokoh, Target is joining thousands of stores that refuse to profit from chained monkeys’ misery,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman wrote in a statement. “PETA exposés have confirmed that Thai coconut producers are exploiting monkeys and lying about it, so there’s no excuse for any grocery store to keep Chaokoh on its shelves.” PETA, which has been tracking monkey exploitation in Thailand since 2019, conducted two undercover investigations that found primates are forced to pick coconuts all day with chains around their necks. The group’s probe found “cruelty to monkeys on every farm, at every monkey-training facility, and in every coconut-picking contest that used monkey labor.” In the blog "Anim Agriculture Technology'' we share a report by foxbusiness.com regarding Target won't sell Thai coconut milk after probe shows product made by forced monkey labor: report recently.

Target will no longer sell coconut milk made by the Thai company Chaokoh after an investigation alleged the drink is tied to forced monkey labor, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced Monday. When not being forced to pick coconuts or perform in circus-style shows for tourists, the animals were kept tethered, chained to old tires, or confined to cages barely larger than their bodies,” PETA wrote in a news release. Following PETA’s investigations, the coconut industry claimed they changed their practice and were no longer using monkey labor but a second probe found it was still happening. “PETA Asia’s second investigation found producers still using monkey labor and industry insiders discussing how farms conceal this practice by simply hiding monkeys until auditors leave or by hiring contractors to bring in monkeys only during harvest time,” PETA said. Target told The Post they decided to pull the products in November last year.  “We believe in the humane treatment of animals and expect those who do business with us to do the same,” a spokesperson wrote in a statement. “We take seriously the claims made against Chaokoh, and given they were unable to sufficiently address the concerns raised, we made the decision to remove their product from our assortment.” PETA has been lobbying major grocery chains to stop selling Chaokoh and so far, more than 26,000 stores, including Wegmans, Costco, Food Lion, Stop & Shop and now Target, have agreed to cut ties with the brand. Meanwhile, Kroger, Albertsons and Publix are continuing the practice. More story regarding coconut industry in Thailand regarding the use of monkey to pluck coconut. It also may happen in manufacturing coconut countries. Thanks.

By,
M Anem,
Putrajaya,
Malaysia.
(End January 2021).

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

HISTORY OF RICE PRODUCTION IN MALAYSIA (PART 2)

Paddy
(Oryza sativa) is the third important commodity grown in Malaysia after oil palm and rubber. Recently NST report 'How Malaya boosted rice production' considered one of the articles that I like to rewrite for sharing with all my blog followers. The photo above shown about the ‘penghulu’ of Anak Bukit and his pair of oxen were featured on Kedah’s first postage stamp set in 1912. Nowadays travelling through Malaysia's rice bowl state prompts the writer to uncover innovative measures in the past that overcame food shortages and high prices. Travellers able to see paddy fields along the road to many locations. Many can see several farmers spraying fertiliser to maximise rice production in view of food security concerns. I feel that many in the know that Kedah as the rice bowl of Malaysia able to serve the nation by taking all measures to ramp up production. As an ancient industry in which the emergence of villagers with buckets filled with bat droppings from the lonely limestone outcrop are serving as a reminder that people have been working this blessed land since time immemorial reaping bountiful paddy harvests while using guano from the caves in the hill as the main nutrient supplement for their crops. Padi cultivation in Malaysia was introduced from mainland southeast Asia to the Malay Archipelago by Deutero-Malays more than three millennia ago. Over the centuries in which padi planting was the mainstay of the Malay economy and to a large extent are determined their rural way of life. Before the mid-19th century most paddy farmers were concentrated in kampungs along coasts and rivers in which water for irrigation was within easy reach, this led a subsistence life where very little cash was handled. However, there was little incentive to accumulate wealth as unscrupulous chiefs and marauding bandits were quick to pounce on surpluses. Furthermore, the unavailability of savings banks increased the risk of losses through theft, flood or fire. As a result, there was no excess capital for equipment purchases to increase production. This article in ''Anim Agriculture Technology" I write about the history on rice production in Malaysia as one important fact to share.

Many local belief that food shortages and the resulting protectionist policies are not modern phenomena. The global food shortages because of the Russia-Ukraine conflict is just the latest crisis. Malaya experienced its first serious rice shortage during World War 1, when Siamese rice harvest failures led to prolonged export bans. Compounded by similar catastrophes in India and Burma than the rice prices happen skyrocketed. Malaya had to spend $42 million on rice import subsidies before some normalcy returned. With the war also causing a significant slump in tin and rubber prices, the colonial government was determined to improve food security. The need to increase planting areas and yields per acre while improving rice quality became urgent even though it was cheaper to import the staple. Later the Federated Malay States government undertook the Krian Irrigation Scheme in northwest Perak. It was the first and only large-scale development of its kind in Malaya until 1930, when the Great Depression brought about an even stronger interest in food production. This resulted in the establishment of the new department known as the  Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID), the forerunner of today's government agency. Two years later, DID launched the Sungai Manik Growing Scheme in Perak, where land was parcelled out after the construction of water works. Pioneers found the work of clearing the jungle by themselves too arduous and left. They were eventually lured back from neighbouring rubber and coconut holdings when a subsidy of $33 per acre was handed out.

Drawing lessons from that scheme than DID was more careful in implementing its next project, the Tanjung Karang Irrigation Scheme in Selangor. The multi-staged project progressed smoothly with the Panchang Bedena area the first of several sites to start production in 1937. There are Japanese contribution for paddy industry during WWII. The shortages of three decades earlier came back to haunt Malaya when World War 2 broke out in Europe. Later the anxieties over rice imports prompted work acceleration in Tanjung Karang in September 1939. Although construction came to a halt when conflict arrived on Malayan shores two years later, the introduction of quick maturing Taiwanese varieties by the Japanese proved to be one of the few bright spots for an agricultural sector mired by neglected irrigation works, disrupted credit facilities and transportation failures during the occupation. These new varieties paved the way for double cropping, a practice largely unknown to local farmers before Malaya fell to the Japanese. But double-cropping during those strife-torn years was unsuccessful because the attempts were hurried and resource-deprived. Double cropping was successful in the post-war years through the development of shorter-term main season varieties, better irrigation, introduction of tractors to speed up ploughing and superior fertiliser. The most serious problem during those early days of double cropping surfaced when landlords began demanding double the rent after realising that tenants were harvesting twice a year instead of just once. Over time, this was resolved through compromise. By the late 1950s reported that Malayan padi production had improved by leaps and bounds, enabling yields and planting area to compare favorably with other Southeast Asian counterparts.

The industry steady progress on all fronts in the next two decades made sure that Malaysia was less dependent on imported rice. Later by the 1970s than domestic production met 75 per cent of rice demand in Malaysia. This was an admirable achievement considering the pre-war percentage was well below 40. A bronze sculpture of a farmer working the field with a pair of oxen by the nearby Muzium Padi entrance brings to mind how much padi planting has progressed over the years. Current food supply challenges can be surmounted through concerted efforts by all parties and the success will serve as a basis for this sector to reach even greater heights in future. Paddy industry currently achieved 70% Self Sufficiency Level (SSL) and the rest of importation rice as a basic policy in Malaysia. With the available 'Jelapang Padi' such as in MADA, KADA and many smaller schemes under IADA the rice production are more organised. In 2020 about 644,584 hectares of paddy are grown in two seasons producing 2,343,760 metric tonnes valued at RM2.655 billion. The average production recorded at 3,635 mectri ton per hectare considered a good harvest every season. The most popular variety gron in Malaysia recently include MR315, MR219, MR220CL2 and MRQ76. Thanks..
By,
M Anem,
Putrajaya,
Malaysia
(December 2022).

Friday, December 23, 2022

HISTORY ON RICE PRODUCTION IN MALAYSIA (Part 1)

Paddy
(Oryza sativa) is the third important commodity grown in Malaysia after oil palm and rubber. Recently NST report 'How Malaya boosted rice production' considered one of the articles that I like to rewrite for sharing with all my blog followers. The photo above shown about the ‘penghulu’ of Anak Bukit and his pair of oxen were featured on Kedah’s first postage stamp set in 1912. Nowadays travelling through Malaysia's rice bowl state prompts the writer to uncover innovative measures in the past that overcame food shortages and high prices. Travellers able to see paddy fields along the road to many locations. Many can see several farmers spraying fertiliser to maximise rice production in view of food security concerns. I feel that many in the know that Kedah as the rice bowl of Malaysia able to serve the nation by taking all measures to ramp up production. As an ancient industry in which the emergence of villagers with buckets filled with bat droppings from the lonely limestone outcrop are serving as a reminder that people have been working this blessed land since time immemorial reaping bountiful paddy harvests while using guano from the caves in the hill as the main nutrient supplement for their crops. Padi cultivation in Malaysia was introduced from mainland southeast Asia to the Malay archipelago by Deutero-Malays more than three millennia ago. Over the centuries in which padi planting was the mainstay of the Malay economy and to a large extent are determined their rural way of life. Before the mid-19th century most paddy farmers were concentrated in kampungs along coasts and rivers in which water for irrigation was within easy reach, this  led a subsistence life where very little cash was handled. However, there was little incentive to accumulate wealth as unscrupulous chiefs and marauding bandits were quick to pounce on surpluses. Furthermore, the unavailability of savings banks increased the risk of losses through theft, flood or fire. As a result, there was no excess capital for equipment purchases to increase production. This article in ''Anim Agriculture Technology" I write about the history on rice production in Malaysia as one important fact to share.

The lack of progress was also caused by the farmers who did not see their work as an economic or business undertaking. For me as senior agronomist nowadays sees that to a majority the local paddy planting was a way of life where the village pawang paddy whose position was second only to the headman, or penghulu, was often called upon to conduct elaborate rituals to ensure successful planting cycles. These practices ten was faded after British interventions in the 1870s in which the colonial administrators considered these practices as hindrances to more efficient cultivation. Existence of pawang padi activities seen as a waste of time and money and were suppressed when state religious authorities declared that these animistic practices and beliefs were un-Islamic. Later the scientific methods became preeminent when district officers took over the pawang paddy's role of determining sowing, transplanting and include harvesting periods. Initial resistance to change dissipated when farmers realised that bountiful harvests were the result of controlled water supply rather than rituals. The tin mining and rubber cultivation booms in the late 19th century saw demand for rice increase sharply as Chinese and Indian immigrants arrived by the shipload. With only Kedah, Kelantan and Perlis recording harvest surpluses in which rice had to be imported from Siam (today Thailand), Burma (now Myanmar) and French Indochina (Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam today) to meet the rapid increase in demand.

Paddy needs lots of water to grow in which the irrigation technique needed. By then t
he colonial government's pro-Malay stance ensured that the rice industry continued receiving assistance. Apart from the passing of Malay Reservation Enactments in which set aside land for Malay ownership, this wide-ranging policy cemented the colonial government's belief in allowing peasants to continue living on the lands they owned and the food they grew rather than replacing their time-tested padi fields and orchards for uncertain new crops that fluctuated in demand and prices. As public knowledge, among rice-producing Malayan states such as Kedah was constantly at the forefront with nearly all Malay workers engaged in this industry. Grown on a commercial basis with the success or failure of the crop had an important bearing on state coffers. Lack of irrigation in the years leading up to the 1880s saw fields concentrate around Alor Star with others stretching as far inland as Langgar and northwards along the road to Perlis. On other record that the Sungai Tengi irrigation project contributed to the success of padi planting in Tanjung Karang, Selangor as a success story. In Kedah stated that eager to expand cultivation, Wan Muhammad Saman embarked on an ambitious project to build a 36km canal connecting Sungai Kedah in Alor Star, southwards to the Gunung Jerai foothills. Inspiration to turn vast swamplands into padi fields came after the first Kedah menteri besar saw how canals were used in Bangkok. Reported that many unpaid labourers, mobilised through the 'kerah system' has also succumbed to malaria. The swamps were so infested with mosquitoes that ropes securing mosquito nets were said to break under the weight of the insects landing on them at night. Although work began in August 1885 however progress was severely hampered when workmen abandoned their posts and escaped to Penang. Then left with no alternative Wan Muhammad Saman compensated the remaining workers with his savings and brought in Chinese labourers to work in the most challenging areas. Work progressed round the clock as the canal had to be ready before the next planting season.  Thousands of jamung (bamboo torches) were lit at night so that work could continue. The line of lit torches also ensured that the canal was well aligned and followed the contours of the land so that water flowed unimpeded. Continue to read in Part 2. Thanks to NST reporters. Thanks...

By,
M Anem,
Putrajaya,
Malaysia.
(December 2022).