KUALA LUMPUR: Most people would assume there are more agriculture pests in rural areas compared to the city, but the reverse seems to be true here.
At least, this is the finding of a very successful urban farm in Keramat that is operated by Seri Perlis 2 public housing residents.
“We were dealing with more pests here compared to our kampung, ” said Mohd Ali Abdullah, chairman of the Seri Perlis 2 farming committee that was set up in 2014 to look into farming seriously.
“There are about 50 of us in this venture. Not everyone is interested in farming, and getting those who are working to take part is difficult.
“But we are trying to get youth and children interested in soil and plants so that there will be continuity, ” he said.
The Seri Perlis 2 urban farm is now a model for the country, and it was honoured yet again when Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee visited it yesterday.
“The government is serious about pushing for more urban agriculture and this is reflected in the allocation by the Finance Ministry under the National Economic Revival Plan (Penjana), ” he said during his visit to this housing schemed operated by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).
Kiandee said the Agriculture Department had given its assistance to make urban agriculture a success. “The RM10mil allocated for urban farming via Penjana is expected to benefit some 12,000 individuals from around 800 communities nationwide, ” he said.
Seri Perlis 2 residents formed its agriculture club in 2014 and received guidance from Agriculture Department technical experts to cultivate a now thriving farm nestled on land between the blocks of low-cost flats.
Urban farming in Kuala Lumpur is also promoted by DBKL under its Local Agenda 21 Kuala Lumpur (LA21 KL) initiative, which supports some 30 urban farms in various places around the city.
“When it comes to urban farming, we hope Seri Perlis 2 will be a model for those who want to earn some extra income from what they grow, other than for their own consumption, ” Kiandee said, noting that the residents earn about RM500-600 each week from their produce at the weekly pasar tani.
At the function, the minister handed over a mock cheque to symbolise the injection of RM50,000 from Penjana for Seri Perlis 2, other than presenting them with a stingless bee (kelulut) colony to get them started on bee farming.
On the Cabinet committee on food security, Kiandee said it would involve 11 ministers, headed by the Prime Minister.
“At the technical level, it will involve the respective secretaries-general of the various ministries. The Cabinet committee meeting will take place next month, ” he said, adding that all aspects of food security would be looked into.
“When it comes to farming, we are encouraging more young people to take it up, ” he said.
On June 5, the government announced that under Penjana, it will support urban farming in kind, by giving seeds, fertiliser, equipment, advice and training up to RM500 per person (Malaysians only), or up to RM50,000 per community (must be at least 10 persons involved).
More information is available at doa.gov.my.
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