Food is a necessity for everyone, but it is not strong enough to attract people to participate in agricultural sector. This is very frightening... especially for a food lover like me. (Being a large sized person highlight the significance of food issues to me)
Most farmers in this country is at their 50's-late 60's. There is not any youngster who are interested with agriculture as it wasn't cool enough for us enroll. The problem can be contributed to our mindset that successful people only limited to those who work in big office... even as some fishy executive position with low pay. A friend of mine, make a living just from selling lemon grass (serai) and catfish (keli) makes around RM5,000 per month. He planted the lemon grass and rear the fish in a tank himself. Pretty awesome for a field job right? My law degree worth around RM2,300 if i am employed by the Government.
Agriculture is a business in its own right. All human beings is potential customer. Right? So this is a pretty darn good business but no.. no.. some people prefer to join some lousy Multi Level Marketing (MLM) which frequently employ some pyramid scheme with some hint of ponzi scheme. I don't understand why some people willing to walk door to door, visiting thousand home with probability being chased away by people or some naughty dog, rather than toil the land and get the results.
Currently we are having global food shortage, with number of people being denied to this basic necessity increasing each day. With agrarian economy shifting to an industrialized one, more fertile lands worldwide, along with its workforce shifting into manufacturing industry. Countries like India, China and Vietnam, used to be food exporter are now importing them (except for Vietnam, but exporting at a smaller scale)
All the shoes, cars, tyres, computer & cellphone produced could not replace a plate of rice in any scenario which involves starvation. This is the reason why we, as a nation, need to produce food sufficiently. Malaysia imports her food supply from her neighbour, but this position won't last forever especially when our food exporting neighbour are turning into industrial based economy themselves. The Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam is heading towards industrialization rapidly.
Following above mentioned concerns, here is my proposal to bail us out from a potential hungry future;
- Redistribute unused land to the people for agricultural activity.
- Provide better financing terms for this sector.
- Introduce a large scale farms, which is more efficient in productivity rather than small farm used by traditional farmers.
- Put more artificial reefs in our seas to promote growth of our seafood resource.
- Balance production of cash crops (palm oil & rubber) with food crops (paddy and vegetables)
- Provide better seeds and breed to the farmer.
- Spend more in R&D for food production. Thailand could have up to four Paddy planting season a year (translating that paddy could be harvested every 3 month while Malaysia, at best with two paddy planting season)
- Reduce taxation for this sector to attract both investor and participation of youngster to make more money. I rather see our food producer getting hefty subsidy and trade protection than our Proton. Not all people use car but all people needs to eat.
- Encourage people to be part of agricultural industry with better rewards.
- Utilize unused land throughout the country. Sarawak, Sabah, Johor, Pahang & Kelantan have abundant of empty land. Use them!!
These are ideas i could think of at 4.02 am.. i could do better during daylight. I suppose. I really wished our Agricultural Minister could do something about these issue. I also hope that people agrees with me that being a farmer is way more rewarding then being chased by dogs just to sell some outdated encyclopedia. Why not we test our farming skills in reality since everyone could easily be a successful farmer in Farmville.
P/S: I wish i could toil on a piece of land, let say a few acres planting tomatoes. Juicy tomatoes i'll say. I missed the day when i plant my own vegetables for my family consumption in my little garden.