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Sunday, July 16, 2017

WHAT IS STARFRUT?


(1)  What is Star Fruit?The star fruit or Carrabolla scientific name is Averrhoea carambola from species Oxalidaceae. It is believed native to Malaysia and sSutheast Asia. In Malaysia it was grown in Selangor, Perak and Johore at 1,350 hectar in 2016 (Source: Department of Agriculture Statistic Report). Young star fruit is a light green color and when it ripens and it turn to yellow and while fully mature, it will be a golden yellow skin. The fruit shape like a star and hold it shape when cut. The young fruit in greenish skin will have salt flavor. The flesh is light yellow to yellow, crisp and juicy. Depended to varieties, its taste between pear, green apple, lemon and grape. How to select a good taste for star fruit? The good fruit is with yellow shiny skin and even color. When star fruit skin starting turn to brown, dried up, it is going to wicked and avoid to buy it.


(2) Varieties of Star Fruit in MalaysiaThere are two types of star fruit species are grown in Malaysia, known as variety B10 and variety B17 for domestic and export market. Some times its hardly to differential between it as tart variety will have a little sweet as well. Other than consumed as fresh, carambola fruits are prepared as Carambola Juice, Carambola Tarts, Carambola Sweets, Carambora Pickles and many others. In the  Salt or Tart from carambol it contain such as B10 tend to have narrow space rib. For carambola sweets, such as B7, B2 and B17 there is tendency to have thick with thickset rib compare to tart variety.


(3) How the Star fruit Look Like? The star fruit tree can grow as height 25 feet with yellowish and greenish leaves 2 to 4cm wide and 2 to 9cm long . The aromatic pink to lavender flower diameter approximately 0.95cm.The tree is grow faster and fruit bear heavily in rich loam with well drainage and high humidity climate region. In Malaysia, there grow huge at state Selangor, Johor, Kedah, Perak, Pahang and Sembilan State at season April to June or October - December. Some star Fruit Product and recipes are Puree, Dried star fruit as snack, Star fruit flavor cake,  Star fruit juice snd Star fruit candies.
 

(4)  Why Star Fruit benefits to body?In Malaysia, you can found many fruit hawker along roadside and market. The fruit had lot of nutritional value and benefits to body need. The table below shown the value for starfruit in lab analysis. Nutritional Value per 100gm contain Calorie (24 kcal.), Protein (0.7 g), Fat (1.9 g), Calcium (7 mg), Iron (0.4 mg), Vitamin A (26 mg), Vitamin B1 (0.07 mg), Vitamin B2 (0.07 mg) and Vitamin C (25.8 mg).

For further references pleas visits Belimbing ing "anim Agro Technology" at animhosnan.blogspot.com. Thankyou...

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Exotic Star Farms,
Beranang, Selangor,
Malaysia.
(23 April 2017)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

PESTIDE AT CAMEROON HIGHLANDS


IT IS heartening to note the recent media coverage and attention given to the current land clearing and water pollution issues affecting Cameron Highlands claims a report by NGO's. Recently a report organised by Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP) would like to congratulate The Star for bringing the issues to the forefront as they adversely impact the lives of people in the area. Furthermore, such situations do not augur well for the reputation of our country as a tourist attraction. Cameron Highlands over the years has acquired a reputation for its dangerous use of pesticides and of very serious concern is the evidence of the use of restricted and illegal pesticides. The following the aftermath of the media expose on land clearing at Cameron Highlands, we wish to call to attention the underlying critical issue at hand. The media reports, together with research conducted by Universiti Kebangsaan of Malaysia and Universiti Technologi Malaysia, have suggested that there is use of lindane and DDT, which are banned in the country, and are known toxic and dangerous pesticides. Lindane and DDT are suspected to be in use in the farms and plantations of Cameron Higlands. The use of lindane was discontinued after January 2000. Therefore, the use of lindane and DDT is illegal. Lindane and DDT, which are known as persistently organic pollutants (POPs), are organic compounds that have long half-lives in the environment and undergo slow physical, chemical, and biological degradation.

They are able to pass through ecosystems and can travel great distances, both locally and globally. POPs persist for a very long time in the environment. POPs tend to have high lipid solubility and therefore bioaccumulate in the fatty tissues of living organisms, and can be measured several months to several years after exposure. These characteristics mean that they can pose a special threat. Some of the known POPs are also known endocrine disruptors in that they mimic the function of steroid compounds such as hormones, potentially leading to disruption of the endocrine system in both animals and humans. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumours, birth defects and other developmental disorders. Also in February 2012, mass fish death near the Sungai Terla water intake area created a scare enough to temporarily close the Kuala Terla water plant down. From a preliminary survey of the three main watershed regions in Cameron Highlands, conducted by PAN AP in 2012, hazardous pesticides including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides were found in storage at the farms.

In addition, there were a number of illegal pesticides in foreign language packaging found in storage. It was also alarming to note that there was blatant disregard for the proper disposal of pesticide and fertiliser containers, which were found around the farms close to Sg Terla. We interviewed a number of farmers from the vegetable and flower farms in Cameron Highlands and found that they all had experienced symptoms of probable pesticide poisoning such as dizziness, coughs, headaches and rashes. They also said that none of them used any sort of personal protective equipment when spraying the pesticides. Reconciling food security with environmental integrity are current issues of paramount significance and importance at all levels. The world is more environmentally literate now and this has been the basis for a quickening change in consumer preferences.  PAN AP strongly recommends that legislation and its enforcement be implemented with immediate effect where the use of highly hazardous pesticides and, in the case of Cameron Highlands, where banned pesticides appear to be still in use.

Original reports by The Star.
By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Kg Terla, Cameroon Highlands,
Pahang, Malaysia.
(4 March 2017)

Monday, July 10, 2017

URBAN FARMING - THE CHALANGGES

URBAN FARMING (Pertanian Bandar) is a cultivation practice where food is produced in the cities around existing town areas (Bailkey and Nasr, 2000). Generally, urban farming is not a new concept in Malaysia. The similar concept of farming activities adopted by urban folks surrounding residential areas started a long time ago. This type of cultivation has been widely named with various contexts of urban farming, or urban agriculture or home gardening are in place. This home garden is practiced as a hobby, source of fruits and vegetables for the households and in some instances earn extra income for household members. A typical Malaysian cultural trait is sharing the harvest with neighbors and community. Nowadays, urban farming has been used to replace home gardening hobby, and this activity has changed its role in relation to the socio-demographic changes and needs. This is due to the agricultural land issue, urbanization, urban poverty and business opportunities that emerged from the socioeconomic needs. Urban farming is getting more and more popular in many regions across the world. New York, London and Tokyo are the leading cities from the developed countries which emphasize the various practices of urban farming. This is followed by the developing countries such as Singapore from which urban farming contributes almost 25% of its food supply. All countries engaged with urban farming now had to deal with input constraints like spaces, water, managing and maintaining the farming system in the high density populated areas. Therefore, there is a need to investigate the awareness and the understanding of the urban population toward urban farming technology. Furthermore, it is important to identify which technology is preferred by the urban population, especially the organizations that have the intention to implement the urban farming at their premise. This paper highlights the needs and potentials of urban farming technologies, and the policy interventions outlined by Malaysian government.



The needs for urban farming is important becaise it was estimated that almost 30%of global population will live in urban areas, by 2025. In Malaysia, until 2014 around 58 % of the citizens live in urban areas, and that figure is projected to increase up to 60 % by 2025. This trend is expected to continue in line with population growth and rapid urbanization. This phenomenon is due to land scarcity, the migration of rural people to the city and also because of economic factors. The migration of rural people to the city increased the population density of urban areas. Thus, this led to a competing access of food supplies, nutrition and food security to the population. Malaysia can be seen even more dependent on food supply, particularly fruits and vegetables from other countries, especially Thailand and China. The Malaysian food imports increase to 1,391,285 tons of vegetables and 730,842 tons of fruit in 2012 from 1,357,962 metric tons of vegetables and 690,027 thousand metric tons of fruits in 2011. Highly dependence on food imports provides an indication that the country is facing problems in food supply. This tendency makes the practice of urban farming very significant and relevant to serve the needs of the urban residents, particularly those which are more vulnerable to the food crisis compared to rural folks. Among the factors that lead to the needs of urban farming in Malaysia’s context is reducing the household food bills. Please link to my other articles about urban agriculture in the blog "Anim Agro Technology" by visiting animhosnan.blogspot.com for further clarification. Thanks.

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Precint 11, Putrajaya,
Malaysia.
(29 March 1438H)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

TIPS TO GROW CHILLI

 

CHILI (Capsicum anuum) is a farming activity to produce fresh chilis. In Malaysia growing chilies are considered a commercial farm production activity or growing as a hobby at home. A total of 2,900 - 3,000 hectare of chili are grown in Malaysia anually producing more than sufficient for fresh chilies (Source: Department of Agriculture, Malaysia). Growing Chillies requires a warm and tropical climate with growing environment and so unless you live in a warm climate your Chillie plants will spend a considerable amount of time indoors or in the greenhouse. Chillies are most often grown in pots or grow-bags and are a good source of vitamin C. They also stimulate the circulation and boost metabolism so give a feeling of energy. Malaysian consume chili in most of thheir dishes from breakfast, lunch and supper. There are many type of chili used in the meal preparation from Cili Besar (Chili), Cili Benggala (Bell Papper), Cili Padi (Small Chili) and Cili Kering (Dries Chili). Dried chili mostly imported from China, India and other source country. Chillies are very similar to sweet bell peppers (Capsicum) but they have a hot fiery flavour instead of the sweet flavour associated with bell peppers. This article are discussing about basic information about growing chili in Malaysia for all readers of “Anim Agriculture Technology” blog.

Growing chily started with Sowing activity. This critical stage normally not seriously organised by farmers. It Is very important to select good quality chili seed that is vigorous, free from pests and diseases and high yielding varieties. If sowing indoors or with the netted condition according to the planting scadule. To sow indoors sow 3 seeds in each 1 inch cell of a seedling tray. One seeding tray has 108 holes for seedling to grow using cocopeat or suitable medium. After germination and when the seedling has reached 4cm in height it was ready to transplant your plants into either a 4 inch pot or into their final position. An 8 - 10 inch pot is ideal. Make sure your pot has good drainage and try lining the pot with a few cm of coarse gravel and make sure the drainage hole is not blocked. If using grow bags then space the plants around 25cm apart. You can give the plant a feed at time of transplanting to help them over the 'ordeal'. Make sure your Chillie plants are in a position that receives a good amount of light. Chillies should not be plants in a suitable distance in the farms or in the polibag arranged.

Soil type to grow chillies grow well in a well drained and fertile soil. If planting in pots be sure to use a good organic compost that will retain moisture. Chilies should be watered regularly to avoid 'flooding' them at wide intervals. Watering 2 or 3 times a week so that the soil is damp (not soaked). Overwatering on a regular basis will cause the roots to rot. You will see flowers developing on the plant, leave them on and they will die after a few weeks and chillies will form. Once the plant is producing fruit you can help it along by giving it a small amount of organic liquid fertiliser every few weeks. When the plant is around 6 inches tall you can remove the growing tip, this will encourage the form of the plant to become more bush like. Chillies can reach around 60cm in height and can be supported with a garden cane or other suitable stake. This may be necessary when the plant is fruiting heavily. Always secure chillies from pests and diseases. In Malaysia the most possible problems is to secure from Chili Mozaic Virus. Other possible diseases such as Antracnose, Fusarium Wilt and others. By following the Good Agriculture Practices (MyGAP) the farmers able to harvest good quality chillies for fresh market. Thanks.

By,
M Anem,
Senior agronomist,
Chili Commercial Farms,
TKPM Pulau Manis,
Kuantan, Pahang.
(9 April 2017)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

HAVE FOOD, HAVE POWER (Part 1)


"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.


Integral to the ministry’s food sovereignty plans is the Kampung Dadong grain corn farm, a pilot project to grow Malaysia’s own feed grain. “Our animal feed bill amounts to RM5.6bil a year on average (Above picture). “Corn is the most crucial raw ingredient in the feed for our chicken, cattle, goat and fish, but we import nearly 100% of it for our use at a cost of RM3.1bil a year,” says Ahmad Shabery. By farming our own corn, he adds, we can cut our food import bill while creating a new agro-based industry ecosystem that can open up opportunities through its value chain from seed production to harvesting and processing, logistics and marketing. “Do you know, grain corn (which, unlike our regular sweet corn, is not suitable for eating) has some 260 industrial uses including pharmaceutical?” he muses, before stressing, “Our priority now, of course, is to produce enough of the grain we need to feed our livestock.” Top of that livestock list are our chickens, which he describes as one of our cheapest sources of protein. As he puts it, grain corn farming could be a long-term solution for stabilising the supply and prices of local chicken. “Currently, Malaysia’s chicken production is at 110% of self sufficiency level (SSL) but this cannot be fully guaranteed because the country still relies on imported feed for the local chicken,” he says, highlighting a recent case when Argentina’s corn supply, which accounts for 90% of the corn supply to Malaysia, was affected when floods hit the country.

Imagine if there is a war or other geopolitical disasters, says Ahmad Shabery, we will suffer, especially if we rely on imports of food production inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, animal feed, machinery and equipment.

1. Why didn’t we go into grain corn farming before?
We don’t have a grain policy or grain board or grain projection. We have been relying almost 100% on imports, which depends on international pricing. We don’t have this policy because all this while, the belief is that it is cheaper to import. The irony is that our neighbouring countries such as Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and even Vietnam where they have their own policy and are looking at growing corn as their second food crop after rice. Our weather is also said to be unsuitable, but why is it possible for our neighbours to grow corn? We have the same weather and the same conditions, more or less. In the Philippines, for example, corn for feed is widely grown in (the southern state of) Mindanao. If it can grow in Mindanao, why not in Sabah?. We are currently importing up to four million tonnes of corn grain worth about RM3.1bil a year. It is causing a high outflow of our currency to foreign markets; the trade deficit for Malaysia’s agro-food was RM18.1bil in 2015 and feed grain is one of the biggest contributors to the deficit with an import cost of RM5.6bil, out of which RM3.1bil is from feed corn alone. We hope to reduce the country’s dependency on imported corn grain by at least 50% in the next few years.

2. What is the ministry’s target for rolling out the grain corn-farming project?
We are currently drawing up a corn grain policy and plan with some experts from the local universities. As for the time frame, we don’t only need to prove that we can grow grain corn here, we also need to make sure that the corn is of high quality as feed for our livestock. For instance, we want chicken fed with the corn grain to grow to 2kg in 45 days. So we need time. This pilot project will take about 100 days for its first yield (expected this September) and let’s say, with further testing, it will take about a year. I think by the second year, we can expand it on a national scale. We have already earmarked paddy fields outside of the country’s rice bowl area (kawasan jelapang padi) which is estimated to be about 164,000ha wide. It will be easier to start in these areas because the land is flat and has an existing irrigation system, and you don’t need to clear it. Like in Kampung Dadong, we want to plant the grain corn as an alternate crop in their paddy fields. The farmers in Kampung Dadong usually plant paddy from February to June, and after harvest, they leave their land unused until the next year. Under the pilot project, they are planting grain corn there from June to October. This crop rotation can increase their earnings by RM1,000 per hectare. This pilot project in Kampung Dadong is about 38ha wide. We need about 400,000ha. The Government also plans to use unused land in the country, estimated to be about 120,000ha.

(One good thing) is that we don’t need a lot of investment to grow corn. If we focus on increasing the production of rice in areas outside of our rice bowl area, we will need to put in a lot of investment in building dams, developing better irrigation systems, etcetera. With grain corn in these paddy fields, we don’t need all that and it will help stem the outflow of our currency in the future and save our currency with regards to our import bill. This initiative is part of our food security policy. So far, we have only focused on the security of our carbohydrate supply or rice. We have not focussed on the security of our protein supply. The cheapest supply of protein in the country is chicken. We currently produce enough chicken for the country’s needs; in fact, the production is at 110%, allowing us to even export some. But what many don’t realise is that the chicken feed is 100% imported. Imagine if Argentina or Brazil suddenly stop exporting chicken feed, our chicken will not have food. Now some are asking why the price of chicken has gone up even though our supply of chicken is meeting our needs – it’s not a question of simple supply and demand. The price hike is due to the hike in import prices, fall of our currency, delay in the delivery, and others. We need to look at it from an agro-economics perspective.

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)

Saturday, April 8, 2017

URBAN FARMING CONSTRAINS IN MALAYSIA

The importance of Urban agriculture, urban farming or urban gardening is the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around a village, town, or city are more popular topis nowadays. The urban agriculture can also involve animal husbandry, aquaculture, agroforestry, urban beekeeping, and horticulture. But nevetherless urban farming constraints always discussed among the players. For me, traditionally, agriculture activity is taking place in the rural area which is prone to input constraints like land factor. Urban farming also has to deal with water supply for irrigation, space for residential and farming purposes, potential hazard and is also considered harmful to agricultural inputs and outputs such as organic fertilizers, agricultural wastes, chemical residues and pollutants. In Malaysia, the population growth contributed to the increasing population density from 88 people per sq. km in 2011 to 92 people per sq. km in 2014. The most populated state in Malaysia is Selangor with 668 people per sq. km in 2010. It had increased more than three times for the past three decades excluding the capital of Kuala Lumpur. Selangor is among the important states which indicate the diversity of economics sectors in Malaysia such as services, manufacturing and agriculture. It shows the apparent constraints and crisis to harmonize between spaces and environment for human living and the spaces for food production. Therefore, the practitioners of urban farming have to share the scarcity of land and water with human needs and to choose the suitable technologies which can solve space and water problems in urban farming activities. Crops need to be fertilized in order to ensure healthy growth. There are various fertilizing techniques and methods, which can be applied to the plants. However, some of the techniques and inputs are not environmentally friendly and are very harmful to humans. There are other constraints faced by people in the practice of urban farming. Therefore, there are needs that need to be identified which include suitable fertilizer and techniques to apply in urban farming. All the suitable practices to overcome constraints are welcomed by the public. Therefore, urban farming does need the right technologies and techniques to deal with the issues.

 
Recently the urban farming technologies and techniques has been mordenised. Among the techniques used in urban farming are aeroponics, aquaponics, hydroponics, fertigation, rooftop (See above photo), and vertical farming. Aeroponics is a modern technique for growing plants in air without the use of soil. Aquaponics or also known as “pisciponics”, involves a special technique. Aquaponic's technique is a sustainable food production system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. Hydroponics and fertigation have almost the same method that aims to ensure that the nutrients can be supplied directly to the roots of the plants and prevent root disease. Rooftop approach becomes one of the most popular techniques for quick and simple farming. In this technique, an abandoned empty roof space can be used to grow suitable crops such as tomatoes and chillies. On top of that, the vertical farming technique is categorized as very efficient as compared to conventional cultivation techniques due to crops grown vertically and more crop production using limited land space. This artice are adapted from a presented paper in urban agriculture seminar where I attended in Kuala Lumpur recently. Thanks!..


By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
13th Floor, Condominium Anggerik,
Seri Kembangan, Selangor,
Malaysia.
(4 Rejab 1438H)

URBAN FARMING CONSTRAINS IN MALAYSIA

The importance of Urban agriculture, urban farming or urban gardening is the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around a village, town, or city are more popular topis nowadays. The urban agriculture can also involve animal husbandry, aquaculture, agroforestry, urban beekeeping, and horticulture. But nevetherless urban farming constraints always discussed among the players. For me, traditionally, agriculture activity is taking place in the rural area which is prone to input constraints like land factor. Urban farming also has to deal with water supply for irrigation, space for residential and farming purposes, potential hazard and is also considered harmful to agricultural inputs and outputs such as organic fertilizers, agricultural wastes, chemical residues and pollutants. In Malaysia, the population growth contributed to the increasing population density from 88 people per sq. km in 2011 to 92 people per sq. km in 2014. The most populated state in Malaysia is Selangor with 668 people per sq. km in 2010. It had increased more than three times for the past three decades excluding the capital of Kuala Lumpur. Selangor is among the important states which indicate the diversity of economics sectors in Malaysia such as services, manufacturing and agriculture. It shows the apparent constraints and crisis to harmonize between spaces and environment for human living and the spaces for food production. Therefore, the practitioners of urban farming have to share the scarcity of land and water with human needs and to choose the suitable technologies which can solve space and water problems in urban farming activities. Crops need to be fertilized in order to ensure healthy growth. There are various fertilizing techniques and methods, which can be applied to the plants. However, some of the techniques and inputs are not environmentally friendly and are very harmful to humans. There are other constraints faced by people in the practice of urban farming. Therefore, there are needs that need to be identified which include suitable fertilizer and techniques to apply in urban farming. All the suitable practices to overcome constraints are welcomed by the public. Therefore, urban farming does need the right technologies and techniques to deal with the issues.

 
Recently the urban farming technologies and techniques has been mordenised. Among the techniques used in urban farming are aeroponics, aquaponics, hydroponics, fertigation, rooftop (See above photo), and vertical farming. Aeroponics is a modern technique for growing plants in air without the use of soil. Aquaponics or also known as “pisciponics”, involves a special technique. Aquaponic's technique is a sustainable food production system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. Hydroponics and fertigation have almost the same method that aims to ensure that the nutrients can be supplied directly to the roots of the plants and prevent root disease. Rooftop approach becomes one of the most popular techniques for quick and simple farming. In this technique, an abandoned empty roof space can be used to grow suitable crops such as tomatoes and chillies. On top of that, the vertical farming technique is categorized as very efficient as compared to conventional cultivation techniques due to crops grown vertically and more crop production using limited land space. This artice are adapted from a presented paper in urban agriculture seminar where I attended in Kuala Lumpur recently. Thanks!..


By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
13th Floor, Condominium Anggerik,
Seri Kembangan, Selangor,
Malaysia.
(4 Rejab 1438H)