CAMERON HIGHLANDS (Bernama): Cameron Highlands vegetable growers have been given six months to reduce their use of insecticides before stricter enforcement takes place, says Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Minister Sim Tze Tzin.
He said the heavy use of pesticides isn’t just harmful to growers and consumers, but damages the environment and causes produce to be unsuitable for export.
In helping farmers make the switch to biological control agents, Sim said: "MARDI (the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute) and the Agriculture Department have produced the Diadegma and Cotesia parasitoids, as well as the Tiger Fly, on a large scale in the lab for use by farmers to control Plutella moth and leaf miner infestations.”
Today, at a biological control agent launch press conference attended by Mardi director-general Datuk Dr Mohamad Roff Mohd Nor, and Agriculture Department director-general Datuk Jamal Harizan Yang Razali, Sim said economic analysis showed the technique could bring in cost savings of up to RM2,000 a season.
He said the government will work with NGOs, local authorities and farmers’ associations to improve understanding of biocontrol techniques versus pesticides before the former - which has been proven to work in most agricultural regions - is introduced across the country.
Since farming was introduced to the Pahang district in the 1930s, Cameron Highlands has become the country’s main producer of vegetables and flowers, aside from being a world-famous tourist destination.
The state is the biggest producer of vegetables, chiefly cabbage, with an output of 68,500 metric tonnes grown over 2,770ha, and with much of it coming from Cameron Highlands. - Bernama