ALOR STAR: Day Two of the Brats Food Journey programme began with the Malaysian staple rice.
Having spent the night in Malaysias rice bowl, it was only fitting that the food journey continued with a visit to the Ban Heng Bee rice mill in Pendang here.
Surrounded by verdant padi fields, the mill is the countrys largest, supplying rice through its wholesaling arm Serba Wangi Sdn Bhd.
The Brats were given a thorough briefing on how rice is planted and harvested by rice consultant Ho Nai Kin.
Ho detailed the history of rice plantation in Malaysia and the industry's challenges.
He said the Government had been generous with subsidies to the farmers but the industry faced a labour shortage.
The average age of padi farmers is 60. The young dont want to work in the fields anymore, he said.
Other challenges revolved around pest control and padi angin, where the grains are lost when blown off the stalks by the wind.
Despite this, the country could not do without padi because padi is a cultural, social, political and strategic crop, said Ho.
These 35 youngsters, aged 16 to 19, are on a gastronomic trail through Perlis, Kedah, Penang and Perak.
The official camera for the event is Canon with the co-operation of Maggi.