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Saturday, November 18, 2017

GROW CHILI PEPPERS IN CONTAINER

HOW to grow Chili Peppers Plants In A Container ?. For me its was an easy jobs to do especially when you have time and knowhow.  To grow y chili peppers need to hold a special place in many gardens. These vibrant and delicious vegetables are fun to grow and can also be decorative. Just because you don’t have a garden to grow peppers doesn’t mean that you can’t grow them. Growing peppers in planters is easy. Plus, when you grow peppers in pots, they can double as decorative plants on your patio or balcony. Growing Peppers in Containers Container garden peppers need two important things: water and light. These two things will determine where you will grow pepper plants in a container. First, your peppers will need five or more hours of direct sunlight. The more light they can get, the better they will grow. Second, your pepper plant is entirely dependent on you for water, so make sure that your container growing pepper plant is located somewhere that you will be able to easily get water to it on a daily basis. When planting your pepper plant into the container, use organic, rich potting soil; don’t use regular garden soil. Regular garden soil can compact and harm the roots while potting soil will stay aerated, giving the roots room to grow well. As mentioned, a pepper plant will need to get nearly all of its water from you. Because the roots of a pepper plant cannot spread out into the soil to look for water (like they would if they were in the ground), it needs to be watered frequently.

You can expect to water your pepper plant in a container at least once a day when the temperature is above 65 F. (18C.) and twice a day when the temperatures rise above 80 F. (27 C.) Pepper plants are self-pollinating, so they don’t technically need pollinators to help them set fruit, but pollinators can help the plant set more fruit than it normally would. If you’re growing peppers in planters in a location that could be difficult for bees and other pollinators to get to, like a high balcony or an enclosed porch, you may want to try hand pollinating your pepper plants. This can be done one of two ways. First, you can give each pepper plant a gentle shake a few times a day while it is in bloom. This helps the pollen distribute itself to the plant. The other is to use a small paint brush and swirl it inside each open blossom. Container garden peppers can be fertilized with compost tea or a slow release fertilizer once a month. Growing peppers in containers can be fun and makes these tasty vegetables available to many gardeners who don’t have a traditional, in-the-ground garden. Have a nice day today!!

By,
M Anem,
Senior Aronomist,
Serdang Agriculture Station,
Serdang, Selangor,
Malaysia.
(20 Oct 2017

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

HAVE FOOD, HAVE POWER (Part 2)

"HAVE FOOD, HAVE POWER" it is clear when he starts talking about the subject that it is a topic close to the heart of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek. Without a doubt, “food sovereignty” is not just a buzzword for the 57-year-old politician who has been overseeing the country’s agricultural affairs for over a year now. Even after a long, hot, afternoon ploughing through the new maize (corn) farm in Kampung Dadong, near Kemaman, Terengganu, Ahmad Shabery is indefatigable as he shares his aspiration to make the country self-sustainable in its agro-food production, and more. Food sovereignty, or the rights of a nation to produce its own food and not depend on imported food supplies to feed its population, is an important policy for Malaysia to adopt, he stresses. “Our country is currently importing more food than it is producing and exporting, which puts us at the mercy of foreign countries,” he says, referring to Malaysia’s food import bill last year, which was reported at RM45.39bil. Our food export amounted to only RM27bil, leaving us with a deficit of over RM18bil. It is a heavy economic burden, and that is why the Government has been aiming at self-sufficiency for some time, he adds. Once we achieve self-sustainability in our food production, it could eventually lead to food sovereignty.

3. You also mentioned food sovereignty. What is the difference between food sovereignty and food security?Food sovereignty is one step higher than food security. Take Singapore as example, it might have food security because its food supply is adequate due to trade agreements with food producing countries ... But in the case of war, trade sanctions and geopolitical instability affecting global prices or preventing the delivery, then their food security will be affected. In these cases, the measure of strength of a country is not how much weaponry it has but how much food we have and our ability to produce our own food. That is our food sovereignty. That is why I believe that if we don’t have a policy in relation to our livestock and grain, even though we are currently producing enough food for the country’s needs – around 80% – we will be exposed to elements that can threaten our political stability. People who have not eaten for five days will go on a rampage. We don’t need outside forces to attack us. That is the benchmark. Previously, there were countries that relied on imports for food like Venezuela, but look at what’s happening there now. When the oil prices were high, they had enough income so they did not think it was necessary to grow their own food, but the minute their oil price fell, so did their currency. Now they are facing 1000% inflation, Venezuela is now constantly on the brink of unrest. We are quite lucky to have enough rice, but still it is not enough.

4. What if our farmers decide to stop planting food crops like rice and go into cash crops like grain corn?
That’s why we have a lot of incentives and subsidies for rice farmers to reduce their farming costs and help them earn more income, because we understand that other crops might be more profitable – farmers in Kedah have complained that they are forced to grow rice when others are allowed to plant palm oil which is more profitable, for example. But with grain corn, rice farmers can plant it as a second crop, after they harvest their rice, to enhance their soil and increase their income. Crop rotation is good for the soil. Anyway, they can’t focus only on the corn because in Terengganu at least, we have the wet season which is not suitable for corn. During the monsoon, they will need to plant paddy. Many usually just wait more than six months after they harvest their rice for the next cycle.

5. Does the ministry have a module for the farmers?
We are in partnership with Green World Genetics Sdn Bhd (GWG) where the company is “training” the farmers to plant corn in their paddy fields and supplying the seeds. GWG is a leading company in the development of the country’s seed industry under the National Key Economic Areas (NKEA). The profits are divided 70:30 between the farmers and GWG. The company also offers a buy-back guarantee of the corn grain produced by the farmers in the pilot project.


6. What other agricultural sectors or products is the ministry looking at for the country’s food sovereignty?
We are also looking at dairy farming and livestock (for meat).
We are already self-sufficient in some foods, such as rice, where we produce about 70% of the population’s needs. It is the same with chicken and fish, but where meat and milk are concerned, we can only afford to produce 20% of the population’s needs so far. Again, animal feed is an issue. For dairy farming, for instance, we need hectares of grass fields for their food while the infrastructure for processing the milk is complex. That means we need to streamline the farms, we cannot do it in patches. We need an economy of scale for efficiency in logistics and supply chain including the processing and transportation. If we don’t address that, it will push the price of the products up. It is crucial for dairy farming because we need to keep the products, like milk, fresh.

 Original info from local newspaper and published.

Rearranged by,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Kg Dadong, Kemaman,
Terengganu, Malaysia.
(Attended the official grain corn planting by Minister)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

CHILI - THE ORIGIN

The origin of chilies is believed to be as old as 7000 B.C. used in Mexico. Chilies were grown and cultivated from 3500 BC. Mexicans used it to spice up their food. Chili was brought to the rest of the world by Christopher Columbus who discovered America in 1493. Christopher had set from Spain to reach India to bring spices such as pepper back to his country. Christopher not only mistook America for India, but also mistook chili as the black pepper. That is how the chili got the name ‘chile pepper.’ He took chile pepper back to Spain where it became a very famous spice. Chili spread to rest of the European countries. Chili became the indispensable spice in European cuisines. Chili became popular in Portuguese. In 1498, the Portuguese explorer Vasco-da-Gama reached Indian shores bringing with him the pungent spice. Chili seeds were brought to North America for cultivation. In 1888, experiments began for cross breeding of chili plants. New breeds of chili plants were evolved. In 1906, a new variety of chili, Anaheim, was grown. Soon, more chili varieties were evolved such as strong breed of Mexican chile.

In 1912, Wilbur L. Scoville, a pharmacist found a new method to measure the pungency of the chili. This new method came to be known as Scoville Organoleptic Test. Unlike, earlier methods, the Scoville test was subjective and accurate.  There are more than 400 different varieties of chilies found all over the world. The world’s hottest chili “Naga Jolokia” is cultivated in hilly terrain of Assam in a small town Tezpur, India. Chili became extremely popular in India after it was first brought to India by Vasco-da-Gama. Chili found its way in ayurveda, the traditional Indian medical system. According to ayurveda, chili has many medicinal properties such as stimulating good digestion and endorphins, a natural pain killer to relieve pains.

Today, it is unimaginable to think of India cuisine without the hot spice, chili. India has become world’s largest producer and exporter of chili, exporting to USA, Canada, UK, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Malaysia, Germany and many countries across the world. It contributes 25% of world’s total production of chili. Some of the hottest chilies are grown in India. Indian chilies have been dominating international chili market. Majority of chili grown in India is cultivated in states such as Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Orissa.

Thanks.


By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Jalan Istana, Bandar Melaka,
Melaka, Malaysia.
(18 October 2017)


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

HAVE FOOD, HAVE POWER (Part 3)

"HAVE FOOD, HAVE POWER" it is clear when he starts talking about the subject that it is a topic close to the heart of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek. Without a doubt, “food sovereignty” is not just a buzzword for the 57-year-old politician who has been overseeing the country’s agricultural affairs for over a year now. Even after a long, hot, afternoon ploughing through the new maize (corn) farm in Kampung Dadong, near Kemaman, Terengganu, Ahmad Shabery is indefatigable as he shares his aspiration to make the country self-sustainable in its agro-food production, and more. Food sovereignty, or the rights of a nation to produce its own food and not depend on imported food supplies to feed its population, is an important policy for Malaysia to adopt, he stresses. “Our country is currently importing more food than it is producing and exporting, which puts us at the mercy of foreign countries,” he says, referring to Malaysia’s food import bill last year, which was reported at RM45.39bil. Our food export amounted to only RM27bil, leaving us with a deficit of over RM18bil. It is a heavy economic burden, and that is why the Government has been aiming at self-sufficiency for some time, he adds. Once we achieve self-sustainability in our food production, it could eventually lead to food sovereignty.


7. To expand our agricultural activities and increase our agro-food production so that we can attain food sovereignty, we need to encourage more young people to go into the field. How can we do that?
We have to prove that agriculture can guarantee a good life. True, some people say they are going into agriculture because of their love of farming or nature, and they say they don’t care about the money. In the long run, however, it will not be sustainable. We need to break the old myth that farmers are poor, that there is no money in farming, and they need aid. The minute you can prove that one can have economic stability and prosperity through agriculture, you can draw young people into the field. We also need to build up “Agriculture icons” and develop “cool farmers” who are modern, adept at technology et cetera. I think more and more people are losing interest in or getting fed up of office work. They don’t want to dress formally or wear suits and be tied to their desks every day. I think many young people now aspire to work out in the open and be close to nature and dress casually in jeans and t-shirt. We need to build these images and types of personalities to change the old perception on agriculture.


8. We already have a National Agro-Food Policy 2010-2020, so how does this and food sovereignty factor into it?
Livestock is not mentioned in our National Agro-Food Policy for some reason. I’m not sure why. And while we have highlighted food security in that policy, it is not enough. We have to do more. Food sovereignty means you are more than secure, you are supreme - you have power and strength as a food producer and can penetrate other markets in the world. In some agricultural countries like Denmark, for example, they don’t talk about producing 100% or 200% of their food needs, they are actually looking at producing 700% of their needs, so that they can conquer the world markets with their food products. It’s the same in countries like Norway and Switzerland, among others. They are small countries but they are producing more food that they need because they are looking at food as a tool for supremacy and diplomacy. Even in the US, the second prominent state building in Washington is the Department of Agriculture, underlining the importance of the agro-food sector. In the US’ DoA, for example, they have about 1000 economists and other experts who understand climate change, genes, seeds - all looking at how to develop policies that will make their country stronger. We can say that we are secure now, but if there is war, we might lose our sovereignty.

Original info from local newspaper and published.

Rearranged by,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Kg Dadong,
Kemaman,
Terengganu,
Malaysia.
(Attended the official grain corn planting by Minister)

Monday, October 9, 2017

PINNING FOR THE DAYS OF PINEAPPLE

PINEAPPLE (Ananas comosus) are lergely grown ini Malaysia for many years as an important for estate and smallholders. There are about 14,500 hectares of pineapple grown in Malaysia in 2016 producing a revenur for RM515 million. To talk about that the highways now zig-zag across the state, there were once pineapples. Johor was once a place thriving with pineapple plantations. What’s more, Malaysia was once the world’s top pineapple producer, but has since lost out to Thailand in recent years, says Lee San Yee. He should know. He is the factory manager of Lee Pineapple Company, an 85-year-old pineapple processing company and pioneer of Malaysia’s pineapple industry, which survived the difficult days of the Japanese occupation and is still standing tall today. “Many of the pineapple factories and canneries here have closed down due to increased competition from Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia which have surpassed Malaysia in pineapple production,” he said. Malaysia is now ranked as the seventh largest producer in the world. He said that during the company’s zenith, its factory could harvest about 400,000 pineapples per day in 2000. But the yield has decreased to about 100,000 fruits per day now.

The plantation’s overall size also went down from the initial 4,046.8ha to some 2,428.1ha, bringing down production by 50% in the past seven years. The company exports its pineapples to Japan, the United States, the Middle East and European countries. The company, which specialises in the growth, canning and exporting of the fruit, was founded in 1931 in Singapore, which was part of Malaya then, before it moved to Johor in 1938. During the war, Japanese troops bombed a bridge behind the factory at 8 ½ Mile Jalan Skudai in Skudai. Lee said the bombing damaged a large part of the factory. But the owners and some 600 employees had to soldier on to keep themselves and the business alive. Although Lee was not born then, he recalls the stories told by the retired workers. “The Japanese soldiers forced us to continue production to supply the fruits to their troops, who enjoyed eating the pineapples. We were not allowed to sell our products to others. “Our retired employees related their experience of being frightened at the sight of the armed soldiers who were constantly moving about in and around the factory. “Luckily the company managed to see the Japanese flee from the country before we achieved independence,” he said when met here.

The factory, which still has the original vintage façade and yellow signage from when it was established then, has since been repaired. It processes pineapples from its Simpang Renggam plantation and 80% of the products are exported. The company exports pineapple juice, syrup and canned fruits to Japan, the United States, the Middle East and European countries. Lee, who has been with the company for the past 46 years and is not related to the owners, added that as time passed, many pineapple factories in Johor could not withstand against the competitive economy. “There is a huge demand, but we just cannot meet it due to the lack of plantation workers to harvest the fruits. “The labour shortage is a big issue for us because Malaysians simply do not want to work in this labour-intensive sector,” he said, adding that this was one of the company’s toughest periods in its history. The company has about 500 plantation workers, with 90% of them foreigners. But it needs about 1,000 workers to fully achieve its full potential, Lee said. “Workers have to stand the heat and because pineapple trees are short, there is no shade from the hot sun and they have to constantly bend over to harvest the fruits manually,” he said of the harvesting work. Lee said the company hopes to sustain its production for many more years to come. It’s because it has become one of the country’s household brands remembered by many Malaysians.

Lee showing the tins of canned pineapples grown
and produced by the 85-year-old brand.

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,

Pekan Nanas, Pontian,
Johor, Malaysia.
(Adapted from The Star Online)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

MARUNGGAY - THE HEALTH BENEFITS

 
What is moringa? .
For me as senior agronomist familiar that the Moringa (Morringa oleifera) and also known as the Miracle Tree, is a multipurpose plant, as the leaves, pods, fruits, flowers, roots and bark of the tree can be utilized. It is also referred to as Drumstick Tree by the Britishers. In the Philippines, they are referred to as malunggay or malungay. Others refer to moringa as horseradish tree, benzolive tree, kelor, marango, mlonge, moonga, nébéday, saijhan, sajna or Ben oil tree.

What are the health benefits of moringa?
Scientific research confirms that these humble leaves are a powerhouse of nutritional value. Gram for gram, moringa leaves contain: SEVEN times the vitamin C in oranges, FOUR times the Calcium in milk, FOUR times the vitamin A in carrots, TWO times the protein in milk and THREE times the Potassium in bananas.
There are many benefits of the moringa tree, but the health benefits are the most important. Research has shown that various parts of the moringa tree can be effective in a significant number of health concerns. Here’s a quick look at a few of them:

Moringa is rich in Vitamin A. It contains four times more Vitamin A or beta-carotene than carrots. Hence, it is a weapon against blindness.
It is also a rich source of Vitamin C many times more than oranges.
Normally milk is said to be a rich source of calcium but the amount of calcium present in moringa leaves is way higher than in milk.
The moringa leaves are said to contain two times the protein present in milk.
Bananas are a rich source of potassium. But moringa leaves contain several times more potassium than bananas.
Along with potassium, zinc is also found in large quantities in moringa.
If moringa leaves were to be eaten by one and all, the world will be free of anemia as it contains three times more iron than spinach.
With all the junk food eaten these days, many people face problems of high cholesterol. Moringa helps in balancing the cholesterol levels in the body.
Essential Amino acids are also found in moringa.
Moringa is also said to balance sugar levels, hence it is helpful in the fight against diabetes.
The body's natural defense mechanism increases with the consumption of moringa in the daily diet pattern. Since it is an immunity-stimulant, it is prescribed for AIDS afflicted patients.
Moringa leaves can be consumed to stimulate metabolism.
It is also said to have digestive powers.
It is a nutrition booster and is known to promote a feeling of well-being in people.
If you are looking for non-sugar based energy, then moringa leaves is the answer. Thus, it will also help in the weight loss process.
The cell structure of the body is stimulated by the moringa leaves.
It is especially useful for lactating mothers. The consumption of moringa has shown dramatic increase in the quantity of breast milk.
It is also famous for its anti-bacterial properties.
The paste of the moringa leaves is said to beautify the skin and is hence applied by women regularly.
It protects the liver and kidneys.
It can also be used as a water purifier.


By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Bandar Baru UDA,
Johor Bahry,
Johor, Malaysia.
(7 August 2017)

Friday, September 22, 2017

AN ENGINEER BECOME A CHILI FARMERS?

In Malaysia when an engineer become a successful chili farmers was reported in the newspaper. As an example Mr Wan Fazli Wan Padila, 30, thought he would never trade his dream job for any other job in the world. He was an engineer with a multinational company in Shah Alam, Selangor and got a big paycheque. But, three years ago, he ventured into chili farming in his back yard in Jengka 23, Maran, Jerantut, and has never looked back. In addition to his chilli farm at the Temin Agriculture Centre in Jerantut, Wan Fazli also operates a chili farm with about 500 trees in Sanggang, Temerloh, Pahang. He also invested in a 3ha sugarcane plantation in Lanchang. The third of six siblings, Wan Fazli obtained his diploma in mechatronics from De Montfort University, Malaysia Campus in 2001. He then worked for eight years in Shah Alam before changing his career. "Throughout my stay in Shah Alam, I adopted the same work routine for years. And, at the end of the month, I would get my salary. "When I could not see my future in the company, I packed my bags and returned to my hometown to venture into farming." With limited knowledge of agriculture, he sought advice from several people about crops before investing RM3,500 (S$1431) of his savings to plant 100 chilli trees. "It was a gamble that paid off. The demand for chillies began to increase and I began to supply them to grocery shops. In 2009, I enrolled for short courses at Institut Skill-Tech, an agricultural college, in Malacca. "When I returned, I started operating in Kampung Gintong before securing a piece of land at the Temin Agriculture Centre, which was a major boost to my farming venture." Last year, he took on a friend as a partner, before expanding his chilli farm to Sanggang.

Later that year, the partners rented 10ha in Lanchang to plant sugarcane and corn. With higher demand for chillies from grocery shops and restaurants, Wan Fazli set up Global Heritage Resources with two other friends. They are enjoying brisk business. "While one of them helps me manage the farm in Sanggang, the other does the marketing. "We hired agents to promote our chilli products, especially chilli seedlings and fertilisers. "We also sell chilli seedlings at the night market here, and offer training to those who are interested in chilli farming." This year, three students from Institut Skill-Tech did their practical training at his chilli farm. As Wan Fazli had no assistants, their arrival was a win-win situation for both. "I provided them with meals, accommodation and gave them tips on chilli farming. Since they are here, I can go to schools and check on the students' chilli fertilisation projects." A bachelor, Wan Fazli said he enjoyed his new lifestyle, which taught him to be more committed and disciplined."I miss spending time with my family and friends, but I believe these are sacrifices I must make to have a better future. "People used to advise me to continue with my engineering degree so that I could earn more money, rather than slog under the hot sun, but I have made up my mind and have no plans to work in an office." This newspaper report showing the success story of chili farming in Malaysia forr others to knows. Thanks.
By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
TKPM Lanchang,
Temerloh,
Pahang, Malaysia.