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Isu bekalan makanan dari segi pertanian di Malaysia

Ms Senorita

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Sebelum tahun 1970-an, pertanian menjadi asas pertumbuhan ekonomi Malaysia. Walaupun ia masih kekal sebagai sektor penting, ia berusaha untuk memenuhi tuntutan penggunaan negara, kata Dr Abdul Shukor Juraimi, Dekan Fakulti Pertanian Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).

"Di Malaysia, terdapat dua jenis pertanian - perladangan dan pengeluaran makanan. Dari segi perladangan, kita sedang berusaha dengan baik. Malah, nilai eksport minyak sawit kami adalah kira-kira RM70 bilion setahun, "kata Abdul Shukor.

"Tetapi dari segi pengeluaran makanan, kita jauh terkebelakang dari negara-negara jiran kita. Sebagai contoh, kita hanya menghasilkan 71% beras yang kita perlukan untuk keperluan negara kita. Kita juga kekurangan pengeluaran buah-buahan (66%), sayur-sayuran (40%) dan ruminan (29%).

Terdapat banyak sebab pengeluaran pertanian makanan yang menjadi masalah di Malaysia. Yang paling utama ialah ia jauh lebih sukar untuk ditanam/dihasilkan dan dikekalkan berbanding dengan kelapa sawit.

Jangka hayat pokok kelapa sawit adalah 25 tahun manakala kebanyakan tanaman makanan hanyalah beberapa bulan hingga beberapa tahun sahaja.

"Permintaan tanaman makanan yang semakin meningkat memerlukan banyak tenaga kerja kerana kadar perolehannya tinggi. Petani perlu menggunakan banyak baja dan racun perosak. Oleh kerana sebahagian besar produk ini diimport, maka ia menjadi bertambah mahal kerana ringgit yang lemah, "kata Abdul Shukor.

Pada masa kini, terdapat lima juta hektar tanah di Malaysia yang ditanam untuk minyak sawit, berbanding hanya satu juta hektar untuk tanaman makanan. Syarikat perladangan yang tipikal akan mempunyai beribu-ribu ekar tanah untuk menanam kelapa sawit. Petani tanaman makanan, sebaliknya, hanya mempunyai kira-kira lima ekar untuk beroperasi, kata Abdul Shukor.

"Pendapatan mereka tidak cukup besar untuk menarik lebih ramai menceburi bidang pertanian. Hanya 28% daripada penduduk negara terlibat dalam pertanian dan mereka, secara purata, 60 tahun, "tambahnya.

"Sepanjang dekad yang lalu, banyak petani telah mula menyedari bahawa menjaga ladang lebih mudah daripada tanaman makanan dan harga minyak sawit jika dibandingkan agak stabil. Jadi, mereka tidak lagi menanam tanaman makanan dan mula menanam kelapa sawit. Ada di antara mereka menjual tanah pertanian mereka. Sungguh menyedihkan melihat ladang padi di Kedah sedang diubah menjadi kawasan perumahan dan perindustrian.

"Serangga perosak dan penyakit adalah masalah biasa dan berterusan yang menghalang pengeluaran tanaman makanan. Abdul Shukor berkata petani tempatan perlu menangani penyakit diantaranya seperti ‘blas’ (beras), penyakit ‘moko’ (pisang) dan penyakit fusarium’ (tomato).

Pernah satu ketika, buah naga menjadi kemarahan di kalangan petani sebagai iklim tropika Malaysia, hujan, pancaran cahaya matahari dan jenis tanah terbukti sangat sesuai untuk buah eksotik ini.

Namun, beberapa tahun kemudian, tanaman tersebut mati diserang akibat penyakit kulat. Oleh kerana itu, petani tidak mengusahakannya lagi.

"Ini merupakan antara isu yang mengurangkan pengeluaran makanan kita dan menjadikannya agak sukar bagi kita untuk memenuhi permintaan penduduk. Sudah tentu, penduduk yang semakin meningkat juga merupakan salah satu faktor, "kata Abdul Shukor.

"Pada tahun 2003, penduduk kita hanya 23 juta. Kini, ia meningkat kepada 31 juta. Kerajaan sedang melakukan apa yang terbaik untuk mengekalkan peratusan pengeluaran, tetapi ia lebih sukar - 70% pada masa dulu tidak sama 70% hari ini. "


https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/agriculture-addressing-food-security-malaysia


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Before the 1970s, agriculture was the basis of Malaysia’s economic growth. While it remains an important sector, it is struggling to meet the country’s consumption demands, says Dr Abdul Shukor Juraimi, dean of Universiti Putra Malaysia’s (UPM) faculty of agriculture.

“In Malaysia, there are two types of agriculture — plantation and food production. On the plantation side, we are doing very well. In fact, the value of our palm oil exports is about RM70 billion a year,” says Abdul Shukor.

“But on the food production side, we are way behind our neighbouring countries. For example, we only produce 71% of the rice we need to be self-sufficient. We also lack fruit (66%), vegetables (40%) and ruminants (29%).

There are many reasons food security has become a problem in Malaysia. The main one is that food crops are a lot harder to plant and maintain compared with oil palm. The lifespan of an oil palm tree is 25 years while that of most food crops is a few months to a few years.

“Growing food requires a lot of manpower as the turnover rate is high. Farmers need to use a lot of fertilisers and pesticides. As most of these products are imported, they are getting increasingly expensive due to the weak ringgit,” says Abdul Shukor.

Currently, there are five million hectares of land in Malaysia being cultivated for palm oil, compared with just one million hectares for food crops. A typical plantation company would have thousands of acres of land to cultivate oil palm. Food crop farmers, on the other hand, only have about five acres each to work on, says Abdul Shukor.

“Their income is not big enough to attract more people to agriculture. Only 28% of the country’s population is involved in agriculture and they are, on average, 60 years old,” he adds.

“Over the last decade, a lot of farmers have started to realise that plantations are a lot easier to maintain than food crops and palm oil prices are relatively stable. So, they quit planting food crops and start planting oil palm. Some of them even sold their agricultural land. It is sad to see the padi fields in Kedah being converted into housing and industrial areas.”

Pests and diseases are common and persistent problems that hinder food production. Abdul Shukor says local farmers have to deal with blast disease (rice), moko disease (banana) and fusarium disease (tomato), among others.

At one time, he recalls, dragon fruit was all the rage among farmers as Malaysia’s tropical climate, rainfall, intensity of sunlight and soil types proved to be very suitable for this exotic fruit. A few years later, the buzz died down after the plants were wiped out by certain fungal diseases. In fact, farmers stopped growing them entirely.

“These are some of the issues reducing our food production and making it difficult for us to meet the demand of the population. Of course, the growing population is also one of the factors,” says Abdul Shukor.

“In 2003, our population was only 23 million. Now, it is 31 million. The government is doing its best to maintain the percentage of production, but it is harder — 70% back then is not the same as 70% today.”


Update #2

Kerajaan sedang merangka dasar agro-makanan kebangsaan - Dr Mahathir

attachment.php


SERDANG (22 Nov): Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad berkata kerajaan sedang dalam proses penyusunan Dasar Agro-Makanan Negara 2021-2030, yang bertujuan untuk memodenkan sektor pertanian.

Beliau berkata dasar Agro-Makanan 2.0 adalah penting dalam menjadikan sektor makanan lebih berdaya saing dengan Revolusi Perindustrian 4.0.

Dasar itu akan menekankan pembangunan infrastruktur dan penggunaan teknologi moden, penyediaan modal insan dan pengkomersilan pertanian termasuk inovasi dalam sektor utama, katanya.

"Ini selaras dengan tumpuan kerajaan menjadikan sektor makanan lebih relevan dan lebih berdaya saing," katanya ketika merasmikan Pameran Pertanian, Hortikultur dan Agro Pelancongan Malaysia 2018 di Tapak Ekspo Pertanian Malaysia (MAEPS) di sini hari ini.

Bertemakan "Makanan Kami Masa Depan Kita", pameran dwitahunan akan diadakan selama 11 hari sehingga 2 Disember.

Turut hadir ialah isteri Dr Mahathir Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Menteri Pertanian dan Industri Asas Tani Datuk Salahuddin Ayub dan Ketua Setiausaha Negara Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Bakar.


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SERDANG (Nov 22): Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government is in the process of drafting the National Agro-Food Policy 2021-2030, the objective of which is to spur the modernisation of the agro-food sector.

He said the Agro-Food 2.0 policy was crucial in making the food sector more competitive with the Industrial Revolution 4.0.

The policy will emphasise the development of infrastructure and the use of modern technology, the provision of human capital and commercialisation of agriculture including innovation in the key sectors, he said.

"This is in line with the government's focus on making the food sector more relevant and more competitive," he said when opening the Malaysian Agriculture, Horticulture and Agro-Tourism Exhibition 2018 at the Malaysian Agricultural Expo Site (MAEPS) here today.

Themed "Our Food Our Future", the biennial exhibition will be held for 11 days until Dec 2.

Also present were Dr Mahathir’s wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub and Chief Secretary to the Government, Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Bakar.


Sumber : theedgemarkets
 
Daim : Isu Keselamatan Makanan perlu diberi perhatian

food.jpg


KUALA LUMPUR (9 Nov): Tun Daim Zainuddin, mantan Menteri Kewangan dan pengerusi Majlis Penasihat, turut dikenali di peringkat negara dan antarabangsa sebagai pakar dalam semua perkara berkaitan kewangan.

Akhir-akhir ini, Daim telah menyuarakan tentang isu kos sara hidup di Malaysia, terutama dari segi punca serta kenaikan harga makanan serta isu-isu pertanian.


Namun, pendapatnya mengenai perkara tersebut dianggap tidak berasas.

Malaysia, sebuah negara di mana pertanian menyumbangkan 8.2% daripada keluaran dalam negara kasarnya pada 2017, mencapai kedudukan ke-40 di antara 113 negara dibawah Indeks Keselamatan Makanan Global.

Tetapi Singapura, jiran kita di seberang tambak, yang hampir tidak mempunyai sebarang aktiviti pertanian untuk dibanggakan, mendahului tempat teratas.

Dalam temuramah e-mel dengan The Edge, Daim menekankan tentang corak import makanan semasa, yang mana pada pandangannya tidak lestari, dan mendesak supaya Malaysia mengkaji semula dengan segera sebelum ia terlambat.

Dalam pada itu, kami juga melihat tentang prospek sektor agro makanan. Dalam Bajet 2020, kerajaan telah mengumumkan bahawa RM150 juta akan diperuntukkan kepada para petani untuk bantuan tanaman integrasi, juga untuk membantu menambah pendapatan mereka melalui penanaman hasil seperti cili, nanas, kelapa, tembikai dan buluh.

Profesor Sayed Azam-Ali, Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif penyelidikan pertama dunia bagi tanaman yang kurang digunakan, Pusat Penyelidikan Tanaman Masa Hadapan (Crops for The Future Research Centre), juga memberikan pandangan mengenai tanaman alternatif yang bernutrisi tinggi.

Kami juga melihat trend yang agak membimbangkan di Malaysia – tumbesaran lambat dan obesiti. Seperti yang dilaporkan sebelum ini, pada tahun 2018, 20.7% kanak-kanak di bawah umur 5 tahun di Malaysia terbantut - lebih tinggi daripada 18.8% dari Ghana. Sehubungan itu, kita dapat melihat apa yang harus dilakukan untuk menangani masalah bantut, obesiti dan kekurangan mikronutrien di negara ini.


=============================================================================================

Daim: We need to get serious about Food Security

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 9): Tun Daim Zainuddin, Malaysia’s former finance minister and chairman of the Council of Eminent Persons, is known on the local and international front as an expert on all financial matters.

Of late however, Daim has been vocal about cost of living issues in Malaysia, primarily at the root of it, rising food prices and agricultural issues.

His interest in the matter is not unfounded.

Malaysia, a country where agriculture contributed 8.2% of its gross domestic product in 2017, came in at 40th postion amongst 113 countries tracked by the Global Food Security Index.

But Singapore, our neighbour across the causeway, which barely has any agricultural activities to boast of, snagged the top spot.

In an e-mail interview with The Edge, Daim points to the current pattern of food imports, which he says is not sustainable, and urges Malaysia to quickly turn the tide before it is too late.

In our accompanying stories, we also look at the prospects for the agrifood sector. In Budget 2020, the government announced that RM150 million would be allocated to farmers to facilitate crop integration, and to help supplement their income through the planting of produce such as chillies, pineapples, coconuts, watermelons and bamboo.

Professor Sayed Azam-Ali, the CEO of the world’s first research centre on underutilised plants, Crops for The Future Research Centre, also gives us his insight on alternative crops that are high in nutrition.

We also look at a worrying trend in Malaysia—stunting and obesity. As reported previously, in 2018, 20.7% of children under 5 in Malaysia were stunted - higher than Ghana’s 18.8%. Here, we look at what needs to be done to address stunting, obesity and micronutrient deficiency in the country.

Sumber : the edge markets

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benda ni dah lama...tapi kerajaan & rakyat tidak komited
 

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keuntungan petani tanam sayur lagi rendah dari keuntungan peraih yang beli sayur..
harga kena main dengan peraih..
 

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pokok getah da leh stop dan start tanaman lain serta penternakan plak
 

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Kerajaan sedang merangka dasar agro-makanan kebangsaan - Dr Mahathir

attachment.php


SERDANG (22 Nov): Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad berkata kerajaan sedang dalam proses penyusunan Dasar Agro-Makanan Negara 2021-2030, yang bertujuan untuk memodenkan sektor pertanian.

Beliau berkata dasar Agro-Makanan 2.0 adalah penting dalam menjadikan sektor makanan lebih berdaya saing dengan Revolusi Perindustrian 4.0.

Dasar itu akan menekankan pembangunan infrastruktur dan penggunaan teknologi moden, penyediaan modal insan dan pengkomersilan pertanian termasuk inovasi dalam sektor utama, katanya.

"Ini selaras dengan tumpuan kerajaan menjadikan sektor makanan lebih relevan dan lebih berdaya saing," katanya ketika merasmikan Pameran Pertanian, Hortikultur dan Agro Pelancongan Malaysia 2018 di Tapak Ekspo Pertanian Malaysia (MAEPS) di sini hari ini.

Bertemakan "Makanan Kami Masa Depan Kita", pameran dwitahunan akan diadakan selama 11 hari sehingga 2 Disember.

Turut hadir ialah isteri Dr Mahathir Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Menteri Pertanian dan Industri Asas Tani Datuk Salahuddin Ayub dan Ketua Setiausaha Negara Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Bakar.


-----------------------------------------------------------------


SERDANG (Nov 22): Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government is in the process of drafting the National Agro-Food Policy 2021-2030, the objective of which is to spur the modernisation of the agro-food sector.

He said the Agro-Food 2.0 policy was crucial in making the food sector more competitive with the Industrial Revolution 4.0.

The policy will emphasise the development of infrastructure and the use of modern technology, the provision of human capital and commercialisation of agriculture including innovation in the key sectors, he said.

"This is in line with the government's focus on making the food sector more relevant and more competitive," he said when opening the Malaysian Agriculture, Horticulture and Agro-Tourism Exhibition 2018 at the Malaysian Agricultural Expo Site (MAEPS) here today.

Themed "Our Food Our Future", the biennial exhibition will be held for 11 days until Dec 2.

Also present were Dr Mahathir’s wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub and Chief Secretary to the Government, Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Bakar.


Sumber : theedgemarkets
 

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Ms Senorita

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Daim : Isu Keselamatan Makanan perlu diberi perhatian

food.jpg


KUALA LUMPUR (9 Nov): Tun Daim Zainuddin, mantan Menteri Kewangan dan pengerusi Majlis Penasihat, turut dikenali di peringkat negara dan antarabangsa sebagai pakar dalam semua perkara berkaitan kewangan.

Akhir-akhir ini, Daim telah menyuarakan tentang isu kos sara hidup di Malaysia, terutama dari segi punca serta kenaikan harga makanan serta isu-isu pertanian.


Namun, pendapatnya mengenai perkara tersebut dianggap tidak berasas.

Malaysia, sebuah negara di mana pertanian menyumbangkan 8.2% daripada keluaran dalam negara kasarnya pada 2017, mencapai kedudukan ke-40 di antara 113 negara dibawah Indeks Keselamatan Makanan Global.

Tetapi Singapura, jiran kita di seberang tambak, yang hampir tidak mempunyai sebarang aktiviti pertanian untuk dibanggakan, mendahului tempat teratas.

Dalam temuramah e-mel dengan The Edge, Daim menekankan tentang corak import makanan semasa, yang mana pada pandangannya tidak lestari, dan mendesak supaya Malaysia mengkaji semula dengan segera sebelum ia terlambat.

Dalam pada itu, kami juga melihat tentang prospek sektor agro makanan. Dalam Bajet 2020, kerajaan telah mengumumkan bahawa RM150 juta akan diperuntukkan kepada para petani untuk bantuan tanaman integrasi, juga untuk membantu menambah pendapatan mereka melalui penanaman hasil seperti cili, nanas, kelapa, tembikai dan buluh.

Profesor Sayed Azam-Ali, Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif penyelidikan pertama dunia bagi tanaman yang kurang digunakan, Pusat Penyelidikan Tanaman Masa Hadapan (Crops for The Future Research Centre), juga memberikan pandangan mengenai tanaman alternatif yang bernutrisi tinggi.

Kami juga melihat trend yang agak membimbangkan di Malaysia – tumbesaran lambat dan obesiti. Seperti yang dilaporkan sebelum ini, pada tahun 2018, 20.7% kanak-kanak di bawah umur 5 tahun di Malaysia terbantut - lebih tinggi daripada 18.8% dari Ghana. Sehubungan itu, kita dapat melihat apa yang harus dilakukan untuk menangani masalah bantut, obesiti dan kekurangan mikronutrien di negara ini.


=============================================================================================

Daim: We need to get serious about Food Security

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 9): Tun Daim Zainuddin, Malaysia’s former finance minister and chairman of the Council of Eminent Persons, is known on the local and international front as an expert on all financial matters.

Of late however, Daim has been vocal about cost of living issues in Malaysia, primarily at the root of it, rising food prices and agricultural issues.

His interest in the matter is not unfounded.

Malaysia, a country where agriculture contributed 8.2% of its gross domestic product in 2017, came in at 40th postion amongst 113 countries tracked by the Global Food Security Index.

But Singapore, our neighbour across the causeway, which barely has any agricultural activities to boast of, snagged the top spot.

In an e-mail interview with The Edge, Daim points to the current pattern of food imports, which he says is not sustainable, and urges Malaysia to quickly turn the tide before it is too late.

In our accompanying stories, we also look at the prospects for the agrifood sector. In Budget 2020, the government announced that RM150 million would be allocated to farmers to facilitate crop integration, and to help supplement their income through the planting of produce such as chillies, pineapples, coconuts, watermelons and bamboo.

Professor Sayed Azam-Ali, the CEO of the world’s first research centre on underutilised plants, Crops for The Future Research Centre, also gives us his insight on alternative crops that are high in nutrition.

We also look at a worrying trend in Malaysia—stunting and obesity. As reported previously, in 2018, 20.7% of children under 5 in Malaysia were stunted - higher than Ghana’s 18.8%. Here, we look at what needs to be done to address stunting, obesity and micronutrient deficiency in the country.

Sumber : the edge markets
 
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tanam padi susah. kerajaan tiada perancangan jangka panjang. banyak kawasan padi terbiar atau sudah tukar tanam sawit.
 

Ms Senorita

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Cover Story: Time to act on food security

Daim_TEM1292_theedgemarkets.jpg

Daim: The current pattern of food imports is not sustainable and we must quickly turn the tide before it is too late. Photo by Shahrin Yahya/The Edge

Cover_chart_TEM1292_theedgemarkets.jpg


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FOOD security, says the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs.

So when Malaysia, which derived 8.2% of its GDP from agriculture in 2017, was ranked 40th in food security among 113 countries tracked by the 2018 Global Food Security Index, while Singapore, whose agricultural sector is negligible by comparison, topped the ranking, the million-dollar question is, how did we get here?

Former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, for one, says Malaysia has been ignoring the agricultural sector for the longest time. As it happens, this is an area the Council of Eminent Persons chairman has been very vocal about in the media of late. In an email interview with The Edge, he assesses the status of food security and agriculture in Malaysia.

“[Since the 1980s] the Malaysian economy has grown at an unprecedented rate that is unmatched to this day. The shift from primary industries to export-oriented industries helped us secure our footing in the global manufacturing market. However, as people flocked to manufacturing and assembly, the agriculture sector was neglected,” he says.

“As this neglect continued, our food imports went up and this year, our food import bill has hit almost RM60 billion. We are not in a food security crisis currently but we need to act fast to prevent one. The current pattern of food imports is not sustainable and we must quickly turn the tide before it is too late.”

According to reports, Malaysia’s food import bill ballooned from RM10.5 billion in 1998 to RM51.28 billion in 2017 while food exports increased from RM6.15 billion in 1998 to RM31.84 billion in 2017.


The weak ringgit and the middleman

The weakening of the ringgit against the US dollar has not made the situation any easier, given that most of our food, as well as animal feed and fertiliser, is imported. At 4.1240 to the greenback last Thursday, the ringgit is 23% weaker compared to five years ago.

Daim cites 2017 statistics for fruits and vegetables, which show that Malaysia imported more than it exported in almost every category.

“The amount of onions, garlic, chilli and ginger that is imported is shocking. These are basic ingredients that every household needs for their cooking, and every restaurant is buying kilos and kilos of these agricultural products,” he says.

According to a Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) report entitled “Achieving Food Security for all Malaysians” that was authored by economist, KRI research adviser and CEP member Prof Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram and KRI research associate Tan Zhai Gen, Malaysia’s imports of vegetables rose from 79,000 tonnes in 1961 to 1.1 million tonnes in 2013. In the same period, annual imports of fruits increased twentyfold to 863,000 tonnes.

“Prohibitive production costs, compounded by high production risks, have constrained the expansion of fruit and vegetable production. Mismatched climatic and horticultural conditions for particular fruits and high production costs have worsened yield gaps between potential and (average) actual yields for various fruits,” says the report.

Daim stresses the need for a concerted effort by the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) to link the hypermarkets, cooperatives, and hotel and restaurant associations to farmers and to ensure that the farmers are kept well informed of what is lacking in the market.

He says Malaysian farmers should look at planting ginger, chilli, onions, garlic, cabbage, sweet corn, cucumber, eggplant, okra, long beans, potatoes, avocado, coconuts, asam jawa, figs, grapes and mangoes.

“We are importing far too much of these items and yet we know there is a local market for them. FAMA is encouraging local suppliers to promote local products but more needs to be done.

“Locally grown food means that the food travels a shorter distance, so it is fresh when it reaches the consumer and less carbon is produced. It also means a greater share of profits goes to the farmer who produced them, and in the event of a weak ringgit, this means resilience against external fluctuations,” he explains.

A part of the food value chain that needs to be looked at seriously by the government is the role of middlemen.

In its report “Market Review on Food Sector in Malaysia under the Competition Act 2010”, the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) highlights that the bargaining power of farmers is generally low due to their dependence on middlemen, and limited price transparency.

“Their dependency is due to the financial support provided by the middlemen in assisting them to purchase the inputs required for production and to overcome any uncertainties during the production period,” says the report.

According to Daim, this problem persists because many of the local farmers are not well off. “Although we know they deserve, say, RM8 for a product, if the middleman offers them RM5 and they need the cash, they cannot afford to wait for a better buyer. In a capitalist system, you need capital to succeed — you need money to make money.

“Middlemen are taking a huge cut and they control the prices. This means the farmers remain poor as they don’t receive fair payments for their produce. This, in turn, means that the consumer pays more than is necessary for the goods received.

“If the middlemen offer a tangible service for their fees, for instance, transport of goods, storage and marketing, then perhaps their fees are justifiable. But they are not. They are taking an unreasonable cut, disproportionate to the service that they provide. So the government must step in to provide these services at reasonable prices. By doing so, it will be able to drive food prices back down,” he says.


Localising the animal feed business

The MyCC report also highlights the fact that the import bill for animal feed in Malaysia is higher than the total import bill for live animals and meat products.

It states that the cost of animal food accounts for about 10% of total production cost per cattle in integrated farming and about 60% of production cost for feedlots. Hence, the price of local beef is influenced by the supply and availability and price of animal feed.

Daim says the problem of expensive animal feed is not new and that one of the reasons for it is that the raw materials for animal food, for example wheat, corn, soybean, cereal and grain, are not locally produced.

“There should be more research on how to make better use of by-products from other industries. Currently, by-products from palm oil are used to make food but these are not sufficiently nutritious for livestock feed. As the local aquaculture industry grows, so will the output of fish waste. This will influence the production of fishmeal, which can also be utilised in animal feed production.

“We also need to encourage research in identifying and modifying grain varieties that are suitable for the local soil and climate conditions. Crops that are suited to local conditions, like sorghum, napier grass, barley, coconut and tapioca, can be utilised in making locally sustainable animal feed,” he says.

In its report, MyCC recommends the development of an integrated national animal feed policy to reduce the cost of animal feed. “Various financial and non-financial incentives can be considered to promote the entry of new players to formulate animal feed from local agro-industrial products as well as encourage existing manufacturers to provide consistent supply for the local market at an affordable price.

“This will eventually reduce the dependence on imported animal feed ingredients and lower the cost of animal farming in the country.”


Food monopolies and oligopolies

The KRI report notes that privatisation in recent years has led to many key institutions, including monopolies, moving from the public to the private sector, implying that economic rent associated with import permits as well as government-organised subsidies are being increasingly captured by private rentiers.

It adds that the food system resulting from these policies has caused Malaysia to become more dependent on and dominated by a few politically influential food monopolies or oligopolies, and monopsonies or oligopsonies.

“An example is the consolidation and monopoly of the rice industry under Bernas. Lembaga Padi dan Beras Negara (LPN) was set up by the Lembaga Padi dan Beras Negara Act 1971. However, this was later repealed, putting the rice industry under the control of a single government-linked company — Bernas — before it was eventually sold into private hands.

“Consequently, farmers are now obliged to accept much higher ‘deductions’ on padi sold by them to millers, which increased from 14% to 17% in the 1970s to more than 20% recently,” the report says.

When asked to comment on Bernas, Daim reveals that its role is being studied by the Ministry of Agriculture.

“Rice is a sensitive topic. It is as much political as it is economic. Nevertheless, the fact remains that about 97% of Malaysians eat rice at least twice a day. We need rice to survive, we need rice to thrive.

“However, this isn’t working well here because though we spend billions on subsidising padi farmers, many of them remain poor, depending on the subsidies to survive. They are also highly vulnerable to natural disasters. We saw the terrible impact of Typhoon Lekima on padi farmers in Kedah and Perlis,” he says, adding that Malaysia also imports huge amounts of rice with more than RM1 billion spent last year.

“The local farms can only cater for 70% of domestic needs. The government is thinking of how it can make farming a self-sustaining business for padi farmers. While we cannot beat Thailand and the Philippines on cheap rice, perhaps we can look at how planting premium rice like brown rice and red rice can be a better source of income for our farmers.

“The government must also look at alternative crops that can bring in higher incomes for these people and use the land to make profit for the farmers,” he says (see accompanying story).

In Budget 2020, the government announced that it will be allocating RM30 million for the production of glutinous rice in Langkawi, which is expected to benefit 1,200 farmers.

To raise padi yields, the government increased the allocation for padi inputs from RM796 million this year to RM855 million in 2020 under Skim Baja Padi Kerajaan Persekutuan (SBPKP) and Skim Insentif Pengeluaran Padi (SIPP).

To build a sustainable ecosystem for the food industry in Malaysia, the effects of climate change need to be taken into account, as well as listening to people on the ground, such as the farmers and manufacturers, says Daim.

“When farmers don’t have sufficiently long leases on the land, they are not invested in protecting soil quality and environmental integrity. Why would they? At the end of the lease, they move on, and any negative impact is not their problem to deal with.

“We need to give people more ownership of their farms to ensure that they take responsibility for them. It is the same financially. If people are financially liable, they will take greater interest in making a particular venture succeed,” he points out.

He adds that climate change, which means more floods and rainfall, will have a major impact on productivity. “The world is changing and we must adapt to it or face the consequences. We need to be sure that our farming practices are ecologically sound — diversity of crops, agro-forestry initiatives, use of data analytics to ensure maximum efficiency and prevent the straining of our natural resources are important.

“We need to be wary of pollution, which, if left unchecked, can negatively affect our future productivity. Green technology can be a useful tool if we encourage such initiatives to flourish in our local ecosystem.”
An immediate action plan is also needed to ensure our water supply can sustain the nation’s population and agricultural activity, Daim opines.

“As it stands, about 75% of our national water supply goes towards agriculture and 90% of this is used for padi farming. On a more practical level, we need to improve food processing and storage facilities. These systems must be open to all. By democratising these institutions and ensuring that all producers have access to them, we can cut out middlemen and ensure that costs are kept low.”

On food security, Daim says it is important to discuss the issue of food sovereignty. “This means that those among us who produce food, namely the farmers and manufacturers, should have a say in how land, seeds, livestock, bio-diversity and other resources are used and managed. As in all things, we need to listen to the people on the ground.”

The 81-year-old, once described as the architect of modern Corporate Malaysia by The New York Times, understands that there is not much interest in agriculture today as it is considered unglamorous and not a money-spinner.

“But I beg to differ. No matter what, people always need to eat. Food is a basic necessity and if your business is to satisfy a basic human need, there will always be a market for your product,” he says, adding that there needs to be a clear roadmap and key performance indicators for Malaysia to prevent a food security crisis from happening.

“Singapore, which has hardly any agriculture, has been ranked No 1 for food security. It can have low agricultural import tariffs as it does not have many local farmers to protect. Malaysia, with its abundance of land, stable climate and wealth of natural resources, has been rated No 40 worldwide.

“Clearly, the government needs to take the issue of food security seriously if Malaysia is to grow economically. We cannot have an unplanned economy that may result in an uncontrolled rise in the cost of living.

Food is a universal need and human right and the government must ensure that all the rakyat have access to sufficient food and resources.”

And that is food for thought for the government as it embarks on its 2030 Shared Prosperity Vision.

Sumber : the edge markets
 

Ms Senorita

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Making agriculture sexy

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 27): Making the agriculture industry sexy through the adoption of technology is what former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin is propagating.

“I am trying to make agriculture sexy [for farmers] through technology, sexy in the sense that you make money,” said Daim, who of late has been vocal on agriculture and food security issues.

Speaking at a conference organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute today on “Poverty in Malaysia: Reality vs Perception”, Daim said for the longest time, Malaysian farmers have been poor.

Daim also made an interesting observation, where he said the future for agriculture in the country is palm oil – its prime agriculture commodity.

When asked to elaborate on his statement after the conference, Daim told reporters that more research needs to be done on the cultivation of palm oil.

“Unless they do more research in the case of palm oil by turning it into let’s say, more food, then there is a future. Because at present in terms of land usage, the biggest is for palm oil plantations, followed by rubber.

“Rubber prices have also come down, and I have been talking to smallholders who are suffering while manufacturers have been making money. So I have been suggesting that [all parties] sit down and come to a solution on how we can assist the smallholders, but also allow the manufacturers to make money. More research and development needs to be done for this,” he said.

In a recent interview with The Edge Malaysia on food security, Daim said Malaysian farmers should look at planting ginger, chilli, onions, garlic, cabbage, sweet corn, cucumber, eggplant, okra, long beans, potatoes, avocado, coconuts, asam jawa, figs, grapes and mangoes.

Daim, who chairs the Council of Eminent Persons, said Malaysia is importing too much of these items though there is local market for them.

According to reports, Malaysia’s food import bill ballooned from RM10.5 billion in 1998 to RM51.28 billion in 2017 while food exports increased from RM6.15 billion in 1998 to RM31.84 billion in 2017.The food import bill has ballooned to almost RM60 billion this year.

Sumber : the edge markets
 
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