JOHOR BARU: The Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry plans to fortify its Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme with the RM10mil allocation from the Federal Government under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) to improve Malaysia’s food security and safety, and boost exports.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said the ministry, through the Agriculture Department, introduced IPM in the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) in line with the introduction of good manufacturing practices (GMP) and Malaysian Good Agricultural Practices (myGAP).
“By strengthening this programme, we can turn Malaysia into an exporter of high-quality premium food products, which are safe for consumption, ” he said when met during a site visit to the Johor Agricultural Park near Kong Kong, Pasir Gudang.
IPM is a combination of pest control methods such as the use of a biological agent, biopesticide or breeding natural predators inside the agricultural area to control the population of pests.
Kiandee said under the 11MP, the Federal Government had allocated RM2.5mil involving 10,000ha of land to help 2,000 farmers nationwide to run the IPM programmes. An increased allocation under the 12MP would help bolster the programme’s effectiveness.
He said some of the examples of IPM included using owls to hunt rats in padi fields, a move which benefitted 80,000 farmers in Malaysia, involving 200,000ha of land.
“For the past five years, Malaysia has been under attack from invasive pests such as red palm weevil, bacterial panicle blight, and the fall armyworm that have caused a total loss of RM10bil worth of agricultural product and business.
“The government spent RM5mil in the same period to control and eradicate these pests, and we do not want the same thing to happen again, especially when the whole world is experiencing the impact of Covid-19 pandemic to the economy, ” he said.
He added that using IPM via biological methods to control pests in agricultural production was a practice that all fruit and vegetable farmers in the country should emulate.
“Demand for our products will increase due to how we ensure quality and safety of the food that we export, which follows guidelines set by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, ” he said.
He also said that IPM could reduce the pesticide residue on the agricultural produce and the environment.
According to the Agriculture Department, Malaysia received 800 notifications a year from Singapore, Japan, Germany and Taiwan regarding pesticide residue beyond the allowed limit in agricultural produce exported to those countries.
These incidents, Kiandee said, gave a negative impact on our food safety and quality to importers and local consumers. However, by implementing IPM, he said we could assure them that our products were safe.
Meanwhile, on another matter, the minister said that the country’s food exports had not been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our export of vegetables and fruits have been ongoing with a slight hiccup during the movement control order (MCO) but in general everything is doing fine.
“For example, we have been exporting our fruits, vegetables and eggs to Singapore, durian to China and imported chicken parts from China, meat from India, Australia, Argentina and other countries, ” he said.
Did you find this article insightful?