Saturday, May 14, 2022

SEAWEED PROJECT - AG REPORT

THE AUDITOR-GENERAL REPORT
shows that the seaweed project in Sabah not achieving objectives. The implementation of the seaweed cluster project in the state under Sabah Fisheries Department has not met its objectives as only four of the 10 clusters planned were set up and in operation.  According to the 2018 Auditor-General’s Report Series 1, an estimated 360 participants have yet to benefit from the project as six clusters targeted have yet to take off. The productivity of seaweed output for 2013, 2014 and 2015 were 2.09 tonnes, 2.46 tonnes and 3.24 tonnes per hectare for each participant which was lower compared to the target of five tonnes per hectare per year for each participant. The project target to raise the income of participants to more than RM1,000 a month has yet been achieved as the average monthly income of each participant in 2013, 2014 and 2015 were RM436.03, RM511.81 and RM675.78,” the report said. This blog "Anim Agriculture Technology" share a report by Bernama regarding the seaweed cluster project in Sabah not achieving the objectives.

According to the report, as at 2018, Sabah is the largest grower of seaweed in the country with an area of 9,836 hectares. The east coast of Sabah (Semporna, Lahad Datu, Kunak and Tawau) represents 99.9 per cent of the cultivated area while the remaining farms are found the west coast (Tuaran). “The government’s target is to create 10 clusters involving 600 participants by 2020,” the report said. To overcome the weaknesses identified and to ensure the seaweed cluster project is managed efficiently and effectively, the Auditor-General recommends that Sabah Fisheries Department takes four improvement measures. The first measure is to carry out detailed planning including the issue of land and appoint competent pioneer participants to expedite the setting of the remaining clusters to ensure the project operate well and benefit the farmers. The second step is to conduct research and development to produce seaweed seeds which could yield higher productivity to achieve the objective of five tonnes per hectare per year for each participant. The third measure is to create a marketing mechanism with the cooperation of the Area Farmers Organisation to assist farmers sell seaweed at a more competitive price and is not limited to a middleman monopoly or a specific company while the government should also set the floor price by providing subsidy to stabilise seaweed price.  The fourth move is to educate and provide guidance to participants to practice the approach of semi-commercial farming so that the products could be marketed globally. 
Source: Bernama

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

OIL PALM IN SOUTH EAST ASIA

The ongoing expansion of oil palm plantations in the humid tropics, especially in Southeast Asia, is generating considerable concern and debate. Amid industry and environmental campaigners’ claims, it can be hard to perceive reality. Is oil palm a valuable route to sustainable development or a costly road to environmental ruin? Inevitably, any answer depends on many choices. But do decision makers have the information they require to avoid pitfalls and make the best decisions? This review examines what we know and what we don’t know about oil palm developments. Our sources include academic publications and ‘grey’ literature, along with expert consultations. Some facts are indisputable: among these are that oil palm is highly productive and commercially profitable at large scales, and that palm oil demand is rising. Implementing oil palm developments involves many tradeoffs. Oil palm’s considerable profitability offers wealth and development where wealth and development are needed but also threatens traditional livelihoods. It offers a route out of poverty, while also making people vulnerable to exploitation, misinformation and market instabilities. It threatens rich biological diversity while also offering the finance needed to protect forest. It offers a renewable source of fuel, but also threatens to increase global carbon emissions. We remain uncertain of the full implications of current choices. How can local, regional and international benefits be increased while costs are minimised? While much important information is available, it is often open to question or hard to generalise. We conclude this review with a list of pressing questions requiring further investigation. Credible, unbiased research on these issues will move the discussion and practice forward.


Few developments generate as much controversy as the rapid expansion of oil palm into forest-rich developing countries such as Indonesia. Oil palm expansion can contribute to deforestation, peat degradation, biodiversity loss, forest fires and a range of social issues. But oil palm is also a major driver of economic growth and a source of alternative fuel. Since the early 1980s, the total area of land allocated to mature oil palm has more than tripled globally, reaching nearly 14 million hectares in 2007. Most of this expansion has occurred in Indonesia, where the total land area of oil palm plantations increased by over 2100 per cent (more than 22 times greater) over the same period, growing to 4.6 million hectares. The total area of land officially designated to oil palm in Indonesia is estimated to be around 6.2 million hectares1 (which is less than 4 per cent of Indonesia’s land area, but up to 15 per cent in some provinces of Sumatra) and all of these plantations are planned to become productive by 2010 (IPOC 2006). Concerns over global warming and worldwide energy use have escalated the controversy over oil palm.2 Greenhouse gases and high prices for fossil fuel have spurred interest in biofuels3 and other alternative sources of energy. Currently, 77 per cent of palm oil is used for food. However, the interest in biodiesel from palm oil (palm oil methyl ester) is currently a leader among biofuel options, and major investments are already planned to convert millions of hectares of tropical forests and other land types to oil palm plantations. Biofuels may have major positive or negative effects on natural forests, forest dwellers and owners. On the one hand, biofuel from oil palm plantations could increase the value that can be derived from previously forested land and help to promote economic prosperity and alleviate poverty leading to a higher standard of living with fewer people depending on the remaining forests for subsistence. On the other hand, demand for biofuels could increase competition for land, threaten food production and exacerbate inequality between rich and poor.

In 2005, Indonesia stated its intention to develop biodiesel and bioethanol industries to meet 2 per cent of the country’s fuel needs by 2010. In early 2006, the government revealed a plan to establish 3 million hectares of new oil palm plantations to meet these targets. This triggered an outcry from the environmental sector. Much of the controversy is about clearing natural forests and peatlands to make way for oil palm plantations, which has generated widespread negative publicity. Producers are afraid that environmental concerns will turn consumers against biodiesel, and even palm oil. Today, biodiesel investors are rethinking their decisions not just for environmental reasons but also because of cost concerns. In mid 2008, the price of crude palm oil was higher than the selling price of petroleum-derived diesel. Given that it costs, on average, about 10 US cents per litre to convert crude palm oil into biodiesel, unsubsidised biodiesel manufacturers would lose money. Prices for crude palm oil (CPO) were predicted to rise because demand for vegetable oil for human consumption is strong in India and China, but it dropped in early 2009 when the global financial crisis took hold. This study reviews oil palm cultivation and the oil palm sector in Southeast Asia; examines the reasons for rising demand for CPO and the effects of large plantations on local communities and the environment; and identifies questions for further research. Credible (objective) research is needed to answer these questions, so that the discussion and practice of oil palm production can be carried forward. THANKS.
By,
M Anem
Putrajaya,
Malaysia.
(January 2022)

Saturday, April 30, 2022

A SLICK ENDEAVOUR OF COCONUT KIND

COCONUT
(Cocos nucifera) are the fourth important commodities grown in Malaysia after Palm Oil, Rubber and Paddy. There are more than 82,000 hectare of coconut grown in Malaysia producing about 650 million nuts annually. The sight of coconuts dotting the grounds used to be a norm for the villagers on Mantanani island in Kota Belud, Sabah in which is some 40 minutes by boat from the mainland. The NST article titled '
A slick endeavour of the coconut kind' are relevant to share the information. For long the abundance of the drupes did not cross the minds of locals that it could be their next moneymaker, until recently. As most of the local resorts were closed due to Covid-19 pandemic's, the villagers received help from non-governmental organisation Yayasan Hasanah to make use of the coconuts. This blog of "Anim Agriculture Technology" share a report by NST about the VCO from coconut in Sabah as a good product.

Their hard work paid off when they came up with the Mantanani Virgin Coconut Oil. 
ne of the villagers known as Mainah Maulana aged 45 years said she and five others had learned how to produce the coconut oil traditionally (See photo above). She and other villagers find a lifeline on producing virgin coconut oil following the shutting down of resorts at Mantanani island, Sabah. She said her team would grate about 70 coconuts within two days to extract their milk and oil. Out of those 70 coconuts they could only yield about four litres (of coconut oil). But we are thankful to have some income from the sales. As to ensure the best quality for our product, we will only produce the next batch once the previous ones are sold. She said the villagers had previously focused on tourism as the island is said to have the best water visibility in the world among divers. There were many tourists, mostly from overseas, who come here. At that time, most of us worked with the resorts. The villagers find a lifeline on producing virgin coconut oil following the shutting down of resorts at Mantanani island.  But when the Covid-19 pandemic hit early this year, we lost our jobs and lives became difficult as it affected our livelihoods as she told the New Straits Times. However apart from Yayasan Hasanah that the community programme is supported by the Finance Ministry. The Mantanani Virgin Coconut Oil is sold at RM38 per 500ml bottle or RM372 for 12 bottlesThe product can be ordered  or visit the Mantanani Local Products Facebook Page. Thanks
.

By,
M Anem
Putrajaya,
Malaysia.
(Febuary 2021).

Monday, April 18, 2022

PINEAPPLE - DIRECT TO HOME

MALAYSIANS
could soon have fresh pineapples sent directly from farms to their doorstep. Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board (MPIB) chairman Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal said the agency was currently in discussion with several e-commerce platforms on the matter (See photo above). “We are not only talking about the fruit but also other pineapple-based products that we are looking to market in order to make pineapple more accessible to a bigger market, ” he said. Dr Sahruddin said although Malaysia was among the top 20 pineapple producers in the world, its production was largely for the local market. Last year, according to him, Malaysia exported about RM492mil worth of pineapple products to over 20 countries – a 43% increase compared to RM343mil in 2019.  Among the countries that import Malaysian pineapples and its products are Singapore, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. “Some 16,000ha of land are planted with pineapples in the country, with Johor producing about 54% of Malaysia’s total production. Blog "Anim Agriculture Technology'' share The Star report on plans for direct pinepple supply from fsrm to home during covid19 pandemic. 

Malaysia currently export about 30% of our pineapples to overseas markets while the rest are for local consumption, ” he said, adding that pineapples were always in great demand both locally and abroad. 
Dr Sahruddin said the fruit was categorised as the nation’s new source of wealth that could spur economic growth and, at the same time, provide better income to farmers and entrepreneurs. This year, he said, RM15.35mil had been allocated to develop the country’s pineapple industry. “This involves various programmes to support production and development of pineapple- based food industry activities, ” he added. On another matter, Dr Sahruddin said the recent floods, which hit several states, had caused RM2.9mil in losses to some 79 farmers. The former Johor Mentri Besar said the floods had damaged crops within a 62.55ha area. “The damage involved 20 districts in six states. Pahang was the most affected with losses amounting to RM2mil. “This was followed by Johor at RM760,000. Other affected states were Terengganu, Kelantan, Perak and Selangor, ” he added. The board will be sending a report on the matter to the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry to seek financial assistance for the affected farmers under the Agriculture Disaster Fund. Dr Sahruddin said the fund had about RM80mil and MPIB was requesting for RM2.9mil for the affected pineapple farmers. “If the amount is approved, it will help the affected farmers to get back on their feet and meet the demand for pineapple both locally and overseas, ” he added. Thanks...

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

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

OIL PALM - POWERHOUSE FOR OILS AND FATS

PALM OIL
(Elaeis guineensis) will continue to be the strong powerhouse of the oils and fats market, despite continued allegations around tropical deforestation and misleading anti-palm oil campaigns. According to Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) said palm oil was the largest produced vegetable oil in 2020, i Malaysia accounting for 31 per cent of the world's oils and fats products at 235.4 million tonnes, compared to 25 per cent of soybean oil and 11 per cent of rapeseed oil in the same year. The government agency in which is also responsible for the promotion and development of the local palm oil industry, said palm oil covered 23.4 million hectares of cultivation land in the world or five times smaller than soybean cultivation area. MPOB said palm oil produces on average 3.24 tonnes per ha annually, equivalent to seven times more than soybean oil and four times more than rapeseed and sunflower oils. From frying oils to shortenings in baking, palm oil is used in various products as it is the only vegetable oil that naturally semi-solid at room temperature with a balanced content of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids (about 1:1). The reports shows that palm kernel oil in which has a sharp melting profile, can be physically fractionated into palm kernel stearin which is widely used as confectionery fats. MPOB said numerous research and efforts with investments of millions of capitals to imitate palm oil were carried out due to its versatility and functionality. However, it said none of the existing alternatives to palm oil was currently economically or environmentally viable at scale. Meanwhile, the latest figures showed that about 55.6 per cent of Malaysia's 33 million ha of land areas are under forest cover, exceeding the country's initial pledge of 50 per cent forest cover at the Rio Earth Summit 1992. MPOB said efforts to support the forest coverage included the development of an ecosystem monitoring system, replanting of trees, rehabilitation, ecosystem-based projects, nature-based solutions and ecosystem services.

It also focuses on the sustainable management of natural areas and resources, improvement of yield and productivity of commodity without expansion of land. MPOB said the Mandatory certification of Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) on January 1 last year ensured responsible and sustainable production, as well as transparency and traceability along the palm oil supply chain. The MSPO certification also covered the protection of biodiversity and the environment. As of December 31 2020, 88.25 per cent of the total oil palm planted areas in the country had been certified.  The government has also established "Malaysian Palm Oil Green Conservation Foundation" to support conservation efforts to enhance the image of palm oil as a sustainable product. In Sabah, the One Million Trees Planting Project, mainly funded by the Malaysian palm oil industry players was launched to contribute to the enhancement of carbon stocks and simultaneously create new carbon sinks within the forest or oil palm landscape. MPOB said Malaysian palm oil represented more than 500,000 smallholders and their families, and more than 416,270 workers in the whole sector of which 76.48 per cent were foreign workers. As reported by NSTP. Thanks.
By,
M Anem,
Putrajaya,
Malaysia.
(January 2022).

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

DON'T BLAME MIDDLEMAN FOR PRICE INCREASE

An article from NST are fair report claiming that changes in food prices either both big and small, never fail to attract media attention. At times of low prices most farmers just cut supply to prop up prices. 
When the price of chicken dipped, excess chickens were sacrificed to stop further price drops. Consumers naturally welcome low prices. But too low a price is not sustainable because of unreasonable margins for food producers. The bigger problem is when prices spike. Unlike cutting supply in which the increasing supply to stop rising prices is not that straightforward. The current high food prices are mainly driven by a shortage in supply. The supply shortfall can be due to lower local production, a logistics bottleneck, labour problems and, not to mention, high costs of inputs, such as raw materials and other agronomic inputs. As always, whenever there is a price hike, we are quick to blame the middlemen in which it is time for a rethink. Tis article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I rewrite this article for all readers.
 
Middlemen have an important function in a food supply chain. They provide the link between food producers and consumers. They operate much like any other business, always on the lookout for opportunities to maximise returns. Managing risks to mitigate losses is also in their culture. So when they see a mismatch between supply and demand, they will resort to the necessary strategy to profit, which is true for any business. When they see a supply shortfall, a hike in price would naturally follow. As a business entity, they would make the best of the situation. Let us not blame the middlemen for the food price dilemma we are in. We should instead look at the root cause of the problem. Clearly, it lies in the big gap that exists between the supply and demand of food items. Few would dispute the fact that the pandemic has a hand in the disruption of food supply all over the world. We are aware that the pandemic has disturbed the normal logistics chain that global food supply relies on. During the pandemic, demand for food slowed down. And much of the world's logistics infrastructure became dormant. The workforce also had to be scaled down. Therefore, as soon as there were some signs of recovery from the pandemic and the consequent spike in food demand, getting the logistics up and running was a massive challenge. We saw how the badly disrupted oil truck logistics in the United Kingdom led to a spike in the price of petrol there.  Market experts tell us that price control is not the best way to moderate food prices. Literally, all developed economies do not practise price control. All prices move in line with supply and demand. Even speculators study changes in supply and demand before they act. Instead of enforcing price control, it would be better for the authorities to closely monitor the changes in supply and demand in the market. Whenever the gap is seen to be widening, immediate action should be taken to boost supply. If the weakening of supply is due to a labour shortage, then the necessary workforce should be brought in.  There is evidence that much of the current shortage is due to the curbs on the entry of foreign labour due to the movement restrictions. If the supply boost requires importation, the necessary import mechanism should be set in motion immediately. What is happening now is there is too much focus on controlling prices, ignoring the developments in the supply line. In fact, nowadays, with artificial intelligence and big data analytics, the monitoring of supply can be automated.  Through such monitoring, any imbalance in supply and demand should automatically set in motion the necessary corrective actions. Unless we address the root cause of the price dilemma by diligently monitoring the supply-and-demand gap, we will never have a lasting solution to the problem.  Every now and again, the problem will recur, especially during festive seasons when demand spikes. Instead of monitoring prices, we should monitor hoarding, which also disrupt supply. However the answer lies in efficient supply management.
Thanks...

By.
M Anem,
Malacca,
Malaysia.
(Febuary 2022)

Friday, April 1, 2022

GRAIN CORN IN MALAYSIA - A REPORT

RECENTLY
a report regarding the growing of grain corn was an important strategies to reduce the importation and high poultry issues. Thee report says that Malaysia has to step up the production of corn as the nation spends RM3.09 billion a year to import grain corn as said by a spokesman at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI). He said the amount spent annually to import grain corn in which served as the main source of animal feed formulation had been seen increasing by 10 per cent every year. The dependency on the imported corn has reached almost 100 per cent and creating risk and instability to the national livestock industry. The demand for grain corn alone is increasing globally and is expected to double by the year 2050. Our challenge is to increase the corn production to meet future demand lies on research and development (R&D), governance and policy implementation. MAFI said the increased prices of chickens and eggs lately were closely related to the cost of buying grain corn for animal feed. The government targeted to produce 1.44 million metric tonnes of grain corn, from 80,000 hectares, by the year 2032 despite the challenges of the global situation that are increasingly competitive, such as free trade, climate change and sustainable development goals. According to a MARDI report in which shared experience in the potential for grain corn in Malaysia, the quality of the grain corn planted in Seberang Perai, Pulau Pinang and few other trial location was better compared to the imported grain corn. Studies on its nutrient composition and the growth performance of local broilers has shown no significant difference compared to the imported ones.  

Recently reported that the shortage of chicken feed, namely maize in Brazil is among the causes of the substantial hike in the price of the goods, said the Deputy Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) at Putrajaya. They said government was confident the price of chicken would go down after the Covid-19 pandemic eased because the issue was the price of chicken feed. MAFI did not raise the price of chicken feed and it is the international price from Brazil in which is facing a shortage of maize and we are importing maize from there.  Hence, when there is a rise in global demand and the prices of chicken feed and chicken in all countries go up and it is not just us. The price of chicken in Jordan is about RM18 a kilogramme. The hike in other countries is much worse than us and their governments can’t afford to give subsidy. Malaysia was among the countries which provided subsidies to the people in which after the Covid-19 pandemic took place and when the country was hit by an extraordinary flood recently in many states as it could still afford to do so. Many other countries give up because they cannot afford to provide assistance to the people. Thanks...

By,
M Anem,
Malacca,
Malaysia.
(March 2022).