BE self-sustaining instead of depending on food imports by having local community farms to keep food prices in check in the country, said Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin.
“The country’s food imports amounted to more than RM55bil last year. Instead of growing our own food, we took the easy way out by importing food but this cannot continue. We must be self- sustaining.
“We need to have food security so as not to burden the people with high food prices like what they are facing now.
“The Covid-19 pandemic and logistic problems worldwide have caused food prices, especially vegetables, to spike,” he said.
Sim, who was former agriculture and agro-based industry deputy minister, was speaking to reporters after launching the Taman Pekaka Village Community Management Council (MPKK) Urban Farming Project in Sungai Dua on Saturday.
The project, a collaboration between Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Taman Pekaka MPKK, was mooted by city councillor Tan Seng Keat who helped to set up a similar project in Sunway Tunas, Bayan Baru, earlier on.
Sim said the Taman Pekaka project would have 270 pots for the community to grow all sorts of vegetables such as cabbage and bok choy.
Batu Uban assemblyman A. Kumaresan said the vegetable crop would be given to the community, and in the near future, another 270 pots would be added to bring the total to 540 pots.
He urged other areas to have similar projects as not much land is needed and a community farm is quite cheap to set up as the farming system came from a local company, Bayan Greentech Sdn Bhd, based in Bayan Lepas.
Company director Datuk Jimmy Ong said the system, which was developed in-house, used a hydroponic system utilising non-chemical enzymes and fertiliser already premixed into the water.
“The good thing about this system is that the pots can be set up vertically and it is suitable to be used on apartment balconies as it does not take up a lot of space.”Sim urged local communities to set up such projects as they can apply for a RM5,000 grant from Penang Agriculture Department, adding that food security was important to the country.
Also present were MBPP councillor Mohd Suhairi Arumugam Abdullah, Taman Pekaka MPKK chairman Kelvin Lew and MPKK members.