The following is an opinion column by Malaysian Association of Standards Users President Marimuthu Nadason, who is also Chairperson of AsiaDHRRA, a strategic NGO partner of AFA which catalyzed the latter’s formation, that appeared in Malaysia Kini. Nadason examines the problem of rice production in Malaysia and agriculture in general, and urges different ministries and agencies to do a critical review of Malaysia’s agriculture system, subsidies and price control mechanism.
The media has reported on the plight of paddy farmers who experienced ar educed yield due to insect attacks on their crops. Last year, they experienced severe flooding which caused damage to their crops. This year the insects/pests further aggravated the impact of last year’s loss. The report focused on the utilisation of pesticides.
According to the media: ‘In March last year (2009), Deputy Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Mohd Johari Baharum was reported as saying that Muda Agricultural Development Authority (Mada) was preparing a working paper for a standardised pest-control system in the padi fields. Under the system, he said the ministry would provide a suitable amount of pesticides to the farmers’.
The agriculture and agro-vased industry ministry seems very shortsighted about the problems which are beginning, if not already plaguing, the agriculture sector due to first of all to the lack of technology and innovation in improving the yields of locally-produced crops for food.
Furthermore, the ministry and its agencies seem to lack a sense of urgency on what changes in climate are doing to agriculture production all over the world.