Buku Hijau 1
May 06, 2008 15:06 PM
Green Book To FaceGlobal Food Shortage
A Special Report By Syed AzwanSyed Ali
KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 (Bernama) -- Asthe world is suddenly awakened from thefeeling of security that there is alwaysample food supply as a result of technological advances in agriculture,Malaysian experts are suggesting that theGreen Book Programme be revived.When it was introduced more than 30years ago, the Green Book had beeneffective especially in reducing the rate of inflation by raising the people's incomethrough involvement in agriculture eitheron a part-time or full-time basis.However, the country's success intackling inflation brought about by thedrop in rubber price and the economiccrisis in the early 1970's had resulted inthe Green Book Programme, introducedby second Prime Minister, Tun AbdulRazak Hussein, on Dec 20 1974, beingforgotten.Before the world crisis hit the country,the government had implemented theGreen Book Programme as one of thestrategies under the Food Security Policyinvolving a total allocation of RM4 billionto ensure adequate food supply andstable food prices.Experts, however, were of the opinionthat the Green Book Programme or anyinterpretation of this policy such as the`Bumi Hijau' or Green Earth programmemust be continued from time to time andnot only during times of crisis becausefood is a basic need which must beguaranteed."The Green Book and the NationalAgriculture Policy actually complementeach other," an economic expert, Prof DrMansor Jusof from Universiti KebangsaanMalaysia (UKM) Bangi told Bernama.Dr Mansor said the first objective of theNational Agriculture Policy was to raisefood security by increasing productionquality focusing on the aspect of commercial agriculture.The Green Book Programme, meanwhile,emphasised more on greater involvementby the people in agriculture andvegetable farming for their ownconsumption while the rest would be soldto the public.The main objective of the Green Bookwas to maximise land developmentinvolving short-term crops, groupfarming, breeding of freshwater fish, andenhancing the marketing of agriculturalproduct besides increasing national foodproduction and raising the people'sincome to reduce inflation.Under the Green Book programme, theconcept of "backyard farming" wasintroduced by planting chilli in flowerpots, planting fruit trees in the garden,and domestic breeding of chicken.In this context, Dr Mansor said theconcept of "community farming", that is,the economic utilisation of vacant land inresidential areas, must be extended tothe rural areas with supervision byrelevant agencies such as the AgricultureDepartment.He said the concept had beensuccessfully implemented in severalstates such as the "Ladang Rakyat"project or `People's Farm' in Kelantan.The expert also said that focus must begiven to farmers in the rural andsuburban areas too, although thegovernment was encouraging the"kitchen farming" concept by plantingvegetables and rearing chicken or fish ora combination of both in the garden of individual homes under the Green Bookprogramme.