27 Jun 2022 12:16PM
GEORGE TOWN – To grow or not to grow? That is the question two civil society groups cannot agree on.
Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) is telling Malaysians to stop complaining about food prices and start growing vegetables, while another group is labelling that idea as “not feasible”.
“Stop complaining. Now is the time to grow (your produce), especially vegetables and fruits in available empty spaces,” said CAP urban farming coordinator N. V. Subbarow.
He also urged consumers, especially housewives and urban farmers, to plant more vegetables, fruits, and herbs to overcome the burden of price hikes.
“They can grow produce in their houses or any vacant areas near their residential areas.”
For example, Subbarow said, CAP managed to grow ash gourds in a small plot of land, harvesting 25 gourds after three months.
“Each ash gourd weighed around 8kg to 10kg. At present the market price is RM3 per kilo. We may get another 20 ash gourds for the next two months.
“We are using a lot of composting materials for this. It all depends on how healthy the soil is. It is time to grow and not to complain.”
But the Centre for Integrity, Professional Governance and Advancement president Myocho Kan said the concept is idealistic but impractical.
He said those living in high-rise buildings are governed by building codes that do not allow for the growing of plants in open spaces, or inside their units.
“If left unattended, it becomes a public nuisance. Then, there is the question of seeking approval from the local authorities to use vacant public spaces as the government may not be landowners.”
He said the solution is empowering farmers in rural areas to get higher produce yield and to ensure that the public understands what food security is.
He added that Malaysia needs to relook at its agriculture policies as the country had converted many land banks into industrial and commercial status.
Also, highly fertile land is used for commodities such as oil palm and rubber trees, he said. – The Vibes, June 27, 2022