What expert says

:

Feeding the Nation

OUR FOOD OUR FUTURE:
REVITALISING THE ECOSYSTEM

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MAEPS Serdang • 1 – 11 Disember 2016
#betterMARDI #OurFoodOurFuture

Dec 2016
Vol: 009

Sustainable Food
Production Through
Fertigation System

NUTRIMA-BENTO:
Healthy meal in a box

High Free Phenolic Acid Juice:
NUTRIMATM JUST GREAT

Rice varietal
development in MARDI
for food sovereignty

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Journey to

MAHA 2016

By: Aniadilla Kamarudin
Secretariat and Legal Centre, MARDI

P

eople have different mindset towards
agriculture. A vast majority of Malaysians
have not grasped agriculture as being a vital
economic industry. Even though a myriad of efforts
has been done to change the mindset of the people
who believed that agriculture is a lowly career
incapable of bringing wealth, our agricultural
transformation programme has to be aggressively
implemented in order to change that perception
particularly among the younger generation.
Therefore,
the
International
Malaysia
Agriculture, Horticulture and Agrotourism
Exhibition (MAHA) 2016 emphasised on exposure
of agricultural experience to all visitors. They
need to understand the vitality of agriculture to
them and future generation. They also need to
experience the difficulty in producing their own
food, the importance of having healthy and safe
food as well as the development of innovations and
technologies in farming to ensure sufficient food
production for the community.
The theme for MAHA 2016 ‘Our Food Our
Future’ has profound insight in strengthening
the food sovereignty of our country. The Ministry
of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry (MOA)
also strongly reiterated a significant impact in
adopting food sovereignty in agricultural policy.
Malaysia has great potential to be one of the
major agricultural producers, therefore we should
strengthen our own food production and lessen the
dependency on imported food supplies.
Thus, MAHA 2016 is designed towards food
sovereignty to educate visitors about the importance
of agricultural industry to their life and culture.
More than 1,500 exhibitors will be participating in

showcasing their latest innovations and products.
The exhibition also include participation from 18
countries such as Fiji, Korea, South Africa, India,
Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Algeria,
Australia, Iran, Spain, Canada, China, Thailand,
Vietnam, Japan and Tunisia. They will exhibit
their agricultural achievements and expand their
businesses through business matching programme
organized by FAMA.
Nonetheless, the main attraction of MAHA
2016 is specifically designed based on nine clusters
that encompass Agro Youth, Agro IT, Agro Food,
Agro Tourism, Agro Lifestyle, Agro Trade, Agrobased Industry, HPPNK, and MAGIS. The AgroBased Industry exhibition offers a vast variety
of food products developed by hundreds of local
entrepreneurs. It would be a massive exhibit for
visitors to explore during MAHA 2016.
Furthermore, the MAHA Food Empire will have
its own special attraction this year. It will serve
168 popular Malaysian dishes from all over the
country to fulfil our cravings on local food that can
hardly be found in the Klang valley. Visitors will
have the opportunity to taste these exotic dishes at
the Food Empire.
MAHA 2016 will also give a unique agricultural
experience to visitors. The outdoor showground
which covers an area of 240,000 square meters
will have eight agricultural activities in which
visitors can participate. These include activities
in livestock, fisheries, paddy, pineapple, herbs,
vegetables, machinery and floriculture. This year,
a myriad of new attractions at every showground
will be implemented to attract more visitors. For
instance, the floriculture showground will have
Kg Durian Runtuh and Upin Ipin, the popular
cartoon characters, to attract kids to come to

MAHA 2016. The paddy showground will have a
walkway through the paddy field to give visitors a
close up experience on paddy cultivation; while the
fisheries showground will present their very own
Kingdom of Sharks.
Mak Cun a popular household name in soap
drama will make a special appearance during
MAHA 2016. Their exhibit will be based on a
traditional village concept but displays a modern
yet high quality local product. Another new
attraction at MAHA 2016 are the musical nights at
MAEPS. A line of famous singers and entertainers
such as Ramli Sarip, Wali band, Ebiet G Adi, Shila
Amzah, and Khalifa band will be performing every
night during MAHA 2016.
Apart from all the fun and interesting activities,
as a biennial event, MAHA has become the most
awaited agricultural show in Malaysia. The target
this year would be to have 3.5 million visitors and
30% of it should be from the younger generation.
MAHA 2016 is also expected to generate
RM200 million sales target that will benefit our
entrepreneurs.
MAHA 2016 is also an integral platform for
MARDI to present its renowned innovations and
technologies to the public. As the main organizer of
MAHA 2016, MARDI is the leader in a few clusters
of exhibits such as Agro Tourism, Agro IT and
MAGIS. MARDI is also responsible to manage the
Vegetables and Herbs showground.
However, the success in organizing MAHA 2016
will not be on MARDI alone. It will be a glorious
victory to all departments and agencies involved
in organizing MAHA 2016. Together we will strive
for excellence to achieve our goals for MAHA 2016
starting on 1st until 11th December 2016 at MAEPS
Serdang.

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December 2016

VIEW POINT
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Feeding the Nation

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By: Datuk Dr. Sharif Haron
Director General MARDI

ver the past forty five years, MARDI has
contributed to the growth of Malaysia’s
agricultural industry and agrofood sector via
research and development, and innovation. MARDI
strives to offer support and build capacities of human
capital to propel the agricultural industry, while
addressing global challenges such as climate change,
animal welfare, and food sovereignty and safety. This
is primarily carried out via data gathering through
research and development and transforming these
data into commercialised products and innovations.
With food sovereignty at the epitome of a nation’s
development, MARDI has developed 44 rice varieties
and several animal breeds including Brakmas beef
cattle, Dorper sheep, Boer goats and Ayam Kampung.
MARDI has also embarked on successful research
concerning horticultural produce such as pineapple,
papaya, durian, chilli and flowers.
MARDI aspires to improve farmers’ income and
quality of life by promoting the use of mechanization,
technologies and adoption of modern farming
methods and approaches. We believe that it is through
this approach, Malaysia is able to feed its nation
sustainably and help minimize unintended impacts
on environments and ecosystem, while catering to the
needs and welfare of animals.
Observing that food borne illnesses are on the
rise as a result of trade liberalisation, MARDI has
developed biotechnology applications such as biodiagnostic and bio-sensor kits, to detect the level of
chemicals present in plants and animals as a move to
ensure that quality of food consumed is safe.

Effects of climate change, increase in food demand and
increase of population growth are pressing concerns flooding
the global scene these days. How does a nation feed its
growing population sustainably given the current climatic
condition? As it is, population growth is greater than food
production growth, given the current climatic condition.
Coupled with the fact that population growth is predicted to
intensify in urban areas, it becomes challenging to feed the
nation with limited arable land. Realising the limitations at
hand, MARDI has developed urban agricultural kits to assist
the process of city gardening with the intention of promoting
good health by cultivating our own food in own backyards.
Ultimately, to be able to propel the agricultural
industry in the knowledge driven arena, it boils down to
human capital. MARDI is committed in nurturing youths
to venture into the agricultural field through its various
outreach programmes such as MARDI’s Youth Agropreneur
Programme which offers training, guidance, consultancy and
access to grants and loans. Since its inception in 2014, more
than 2400 participants have enrolled and benefitted from the
programme, where more than 200 successful agropreneurs
have achieved annual sales between RM50,000 and
RM100,000. In order to inculcate the love for agriculture at
an even younger age, MARDI has introduced and promoted
two programmes called Green Shoots and Tani Warriors for
primary and secondary school children, respectively. To assist
in building the capacities of the younger generation, MARDI
is blessed with a pool of 600 passionate and committed
scientists who continuously strive to ensure that MARDI will
put its best foot forward to lead the agricultural R&D scene
in Malaysia.

What expert says:

Advisor
• Datuk Dr. Sharif Haron
(Director General MARDI)
MARDI Editorial Team
• Dr. Mohamad Roff Mohd Noor
• Dr. Ainu Husna MS Suhaimi
• Dr. Ahmad Safuan Bujang

• Dr. Chubashini Suntharalingam



Rohani Md Yon
Maheswary Vellupillai
Lina Rozano
Noor Salina Mohd Baharuddin

MARDI Press
• Hazida Syima Hamazah
• Mahani Saim
• Tengku Ahmad Fakrul Adli Engku Mat
For enquiries, please contact
Scientia MARDI
MARDI Headquarters,
Persiaran MARDI-UPM,
43400 Serdang, Selangor
Tel:
603-8953 7202
Fax:
603-8953 7221
E-mail: shusna@mardi.gov.my

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OUR FOOD OUR FUTURE:

REVITALISING THE ECOSYSTEM
By: Dr. Indu Bala Jaganath
Research Specialist (Nutrigenomics), MARDI

M

alaysia as a country has the right to define and
control its food sovereignty but the country is
open and vulnerable to the challenges of the
environment, urbanisation, changing demographics,
and rising amounts of food waste. We desperately need
a food revolution movement where farmers need to be
smarter about crop production. We have to realise that
agriculture has enormous impacts on the world’s most
critical resources, i.e. land and water. Accordingly,
farmers will have to produce while also ensuring the
provision of various vital ecosystem services. For a
greener and more sustainable future, we now realise
that agriculture needs to co-exist with nature. Firstly,
we need to take care of the soil on which our food
crops are grown. Through continuous use of chemical
fertilizers and pesticides, the microbial ecosystem, which
is very much needed for healthy growth of the crop, is
jeopardised. This ecosystem has to be revitalised and
this can be achieved through soil microbial restoration.
Careful selection of effective consortium of beneficial
microorganisms using biotechnological approaches is
very crucial in revitalising the soil and promoting plant
growth. With better plant growth, plant immunity is
also stimulated and tolerance to pests and diseases is
enhanced. Secondly, we also need to nurture pollinating
insects such as bees, utilise natural resources such as
birds to feed on insect pests rather than using large
amounts of pesticides. Consecutively, farmers need to be
urgently educated on their co-existence and the need to
synergistically work with the environment rather than
against it. If they do not start now, our vital resources
will be continuously degraded and the ability to produce
enough food for the future will be exhausted.
Are we aiming at the correct goals when producing
food to satisfy our taste buds? For the first time in history
we have as many overweight people as undernourished
people. The modern food environment is a remarkable
source of pleasure, far richer than is needed by our body

which very often lead us on a disastrous journey for human
health. This is tied in with our agriculture policy that mainly
focuses on production and trade and is curiously dissociated
from the vital issues of good nutrition. We need to actively shift
our focus to the production of more nutritious or healthy food.
Most of us know that diet plays a key role in determining health
but with the knowledge gained from frontier sciences, we now
acknowledge that the type of food we eat can actually affect
expression of genes related to health, either causing a wide
range of diet related diseases or maintaining health. Choosing
the correct meals built on fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole
grains which are high in bioactive components, is the best way
to stay healthy as validated by voluminous amounts of scientific
data. At the research front, the focus should be towards defining
the goals in terms of nutritional value rather than simply “more
production”.
Do we need a profound re-assessment of our current
utilisation of food resources and food system so that they can
better serve our future needs? We may need to explore other
options to fulfill our food security issues and this may lead us to
a very different path. One example of a good alternative food crop
is algae. Although located at the bottom of the food chain, algae
is capable of providing a rich nutritious food source for mankind.
It grows very rapidly in the ocean and does not require land and
fresh water which is becoming increasingly scarce worldwide.
Food industrialist predict that algae farming could become the
world’s biggest cropping industry of the future not only due to
its richness in nutritional composition but also because of its
high productivity where certain microalgae are 20 times more
productive than conventional crops.
In conclusion, I would like to stress that “business as usual in
food production” is no longer a viable option. We need a broader
vision and bolder ideas to help nourish our people in a manner
that is environmentally sustainable. Rather than simply “more”
production, we must also consider what would be “better” production
with healthier food systems. The choices we make today on the type
of food produced will make an incredible amount of difference for
the future of our children and the planet we live in.

December 2016

3

RESEARCH

MARDI Urban Community Farming Programme
By: Dr. Zulhazmi Sayuti, Muhamad Abid Ahmad and Illias Mohd Khir
Horticulture Research Centre, MARDI

Cultivation of vegetables, salads and
herbs in urban farming project at
Taman Cendana, Pasir Gudang, Johor.

MARDI Urban Farming project at Precinct 8 and 9, Putrajaya.

SUSTAINABLE FOOD
PRODUCTION
THROUGH
FERTIGATION SYSTEM
By: Dr. Ahmad Safuan Bujang
Promotion and Business Development Centre, MARDI

F

ertigation is an agricultural technique that maximizes
crop yield through controlled application of water
and fertilizers. This application also ensures that
negative effects of fertilizer leaching to the roots, soil and
groundwater are avoided. When applied in a soilless system,
where substrates and media such as rockwool, perlite,
vermiculite or peat are used, cultivation of food crops can
be done on infertile lands or urban areas. Elimination of soil
also improves yield through prevention of soil-borne diseases
and increases multiple growing cycles without the need to
replenish nutrients and soil conditioning. Furthermore,
fertigation under a rain-shelter system allows cultivation
of crops in areas where excessive rain, sunshine or wind
inhibits conventional cultivation of the required food crops.
In Malaysia, fertigation of vegetables such as chillies,
cucumbers and tomatoes, as well as high-valued fruits such
as rock melons are widely practiced. Crop yields of up to
five times per unit area have been achieved and this has
contributed to its increasing public interest and appeal.
MARDI plays an important role in generating innovative
techniques that are tailored to suit requirements of local
food crops, as well as utilizing the advantages of fertigation
system to expand into cultivating non-local food crops that
would otherwise be difficult to grow through conventional
methods.
One of these advantages is in addressing the needs to
avoid soil-borne diseases and nomadic cultivation in limited
highland areas that continue to negatively affect production
of high-value local ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe).
MARDI developed a technique to cultivate ginger rhizomes in
lowland areas with an increase in yield from 0.9 kg to 5.4 kg
per clump. Furthermore, research was also done to develop
techniques to substitute locally available by-products such as
coconut husk (coco-peat) and rice husk as growing media.
These alternative media are not only relatively cheaper,
but also provide solutions for utilizing unused agricultural
wastes.

T

he urban farming programme (UF) is
carried out as an alternative programme
to strengthen the supply and safety of
food, an aspiration of the Nation’s Agro-food
Policy. Urban farming involves normal farming
practices of producing food while preserving
the environment in urban areas. In addition
to minimizing food cost, urban farming also
produces food that is fresh, safe and nutritious.
As a research institution, MARDI
contributes to the success of this programme
through research and development, generating
economical and practical technologies and
innovations. MARDI is also involved in
the planning and development of urban
agricultural projects by providing courses and
training, application modules, lectures and
related demonstrations.
Among the pilot projects of urban farming
initiated by MARDI is Urban Community
Farming at Taman Cendana, Pasir Gudang,
Johor. The project began in early 2014 and
inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Johor on
March 7, 2014. This is a collaborative project
between MARDI, Residents Community of
Taman Cendana and All Cosmos Sdn. Bhd. in
which the latter contributed RM50,000 as part
of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
activities. A total of 50 selected residents in
Taman Cendana participated in this project
through a collaborative community approach.
Various types of crops such as vegetables, salads
and fruits are cultivated adopting MARDI’s
technologies and innovations such as Greenkit,
self-watering pots, self-watering beds and
multilayer systems. These technologies were
generated to facilitate cultivation to minimise
plant maintenance.
The success of this project culminated
an interest in many parties nearby such` as
schools, private agencies, individuals and

communities to visit, share and replicate this
project. This community farming project was
awarded “The Johor Excellent Community
Award” in 2015.
Another pilot project developed by MARDI is
Urban Farming Project Putrajaya. This project
is a collaborative initiative between MARDI,
Putrajaya Corporation (PPj) and the Putrajaya
Residents Community Cooperative (KKPP).
The project was launched by the President
of Putrajaya Corporation on 26 November
2014. There were initially 24 participants,
which then increased to 50, comprising people
from the community who are also members
of the Cooperative, located at Precincts 8
and 9 in Putrajaya. This project focused on
the cultivation of chilli and rock melon using
fertigation system under rain shelter. This
project which costs approximately RM200,000,
is practised on a semi-commercial scale where
a majority of the produce is marketed within
Putrajaya while a smaller portion is shared
between the participants. Proceeds from sales
are utilised by Cooperative for the benefits of
members.
This strategic partnership has opened the
eyes of many sectors to implement similar
projects in their respective areas. With the
slogan ‘Komuniti Bestari, Bandar Lestari’,
implementation of this project emphasizes
on close cooperation among members while
preserving the environment. Other institutions
that have close collaboration with MARDI
in carrying out urban farming projects are
Putrajaya Corporation (PPj), Melaka State
Government, Kuala Lumpur City hall (DBKL)
and MAYBANK.
MARDI aspires that these collaborative
efforts will further enhance urban farming
activities towards achieving the nation’s food
security agenda.

MARDI has also been actively involved
in extension programs to increase the
appeal of agriculture, especially towards
youth. Programs such as MARDI’s Youth
Agropreneur that targets youth between 18 to
40 years old, provides training, consultations
and access to grants and loans. MARDI has
also developed many mobile applications
(apps) that provides vital information for
fertigation of many crops, as well as groups
on social media platforms to provide access
for the public to directly engage with experts
in MARDI.

In order to achieve sustainable food
security, fertigation can be leveraged as one
of MARDI’s various strategies. Therefore,
MARDI will continue to support this effort
by increasing its research and development
activities in this field. Up to extension activities
supported by researchers and officers that
are au fait with current technological trends
will ensure stakeholder needs are met as
well as building a comprehensive mindset of
thrusting africulture as a nation builder.

4

December 2016

TECHNOLOGY
Household Farming
- Bridging the farm to

table gap

By: Dr. Ahmad Safuan Bujang
Promotion and Business Development Centre, MARDI

D

espite its recent popularity, household
farming is not a new concept. Ever since
man transitioned from a hunter-gathering
society to embracing its agrarian traits, the concept
of growing your own food for sustenance became
intrinsic not only for survival but also in building
nations and civilizations.
Conceptually, farming is differentiated by its size
and purpose. In its larger iteration, national policies
are developed in order to harness its functionality
to feed the people, thus providing the platform for
expansion and development. Large scale agriculture
is reliant on a few limiting factors, including societal
structure, arable land, resources and manpower.
These factors transcend time and the advent of
technology has seen adaptive measures used by
civilizations to counter them. Until recently, growth
of agriculture was seen to be on an exponential curve
and it’s not uncommon to see crops grown in one
place and consumed in a different continent. The
need to feed a growing borderless world economy
as well as an ever-growing world population has
placed an enormous burden on existing agricultural
infrastructure to meet these demands and at the
same time overcome these limiting factors.
In a report published by the Institution of
Mechanical Engineers (IME), it is estimated that
up to 13.5 trillion cubic meters of water per year is
needed to meet global food demand by 2050. This is
triple the amount of water used by humans annually!
What is even more depressing is the disconnect within
the existing value chain that connects farms to table.
This disparity has seen an annual 2 billion tonnes
of food wasted including edible fruit and vegetables
being rejected by supermarkets or not harvested
due to its physical appearance. Coupled with poor
agricultural practices, inadequate infrastructure

and storage facilities, this loss contributed to about
550 billion cubic meters of water wasted on food that
never reach the consumers’ tables.
Closer to home, to supply up to 50% of vegetable
demand in Malaysia, a total of about 25,000 ha has been
cleared since 1990. This has resulted in irreversible
environmental impacts including loss of lives through
landslides and floods. Simplifying the chains from
farms to table is essential to stem this bleeding
wastage, loss of vital resources and environmental
damage. It seems ironic that a civilization that relies
heavily on mass production of food now requires a
seemingly backwards redirection in order to solve its
many issues. As types of agriculture practices differs
on its size and purpose, household farming is seen as
a method to maintain its purpose in society albeit in
a smaller capacity.
In Malaysia, concepts such as edible gardens,
vertical farming and DIY aquaponics are garnering
greater attention. These are small-scale agricultural
activities that can supply needs of a household or a
small community. In this scale, not only resources
such as water and fertilizers are applied efficiently,
the use of pesticides that causes a myriad of
adverse health and environmental impacts can be
minimized, controlled or eliminated. Moreover, this
also considerably cuts the gap between farm to table,
ensuring wastage and cost attributed to its delivery
along the supply chain are eliminated as well.

Nutrima-bento:

A

Healthy meal in a box

healthy diet provides the proper combination
of energy and nutrients. The right balance of
nutrients needed to maintain health can be
achieved by eating a proper balance of all healthy
foods. These healthy foods include fruits, vegetables,
meats, fishes, poultry, legumes and dairy products as
recommended by the Malaysian Food Pyramid.
Meats, fishes, poultry, legumes and dairy products
provide energy required for daily activities. They
also help in production and smooth functioning of
enzymes and hormones, as well as provide cellular
and muscular health. Fruits and vegetables on the
other hand, contain a whole range of beneficial
bioactive components called phytochemicals that
serve as antioxidants in the body. These components
have been studied extensively for their health
potential to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such
as cardiovascular disease, cancer and hypertension.
To maintain a healthy or ideal weight, a balance
between the calorie intake with the calorie burn must
be considered. The amount of calories consumed
depends on the individual’s requirement based on
age, gender, weight and level of physical activities.
There are 3 important factors to be considered when
planning healthy meals;
1. A balanced diet
2. A wide variety of foods
3. Eating in moderation

Nutrima-bento with food calorie label

Nutrima-bento at VIP table

MARDI is also at the forefront in contributing
to this agricultural revolution in Malaysia. With a
number of technologies related to small and modular
scale household farming such as Verti-Kit, UrbanKit, GreenKit, as well as mobile apps such as MARDI
Hidroponik Salad, the movement towards providing
alternatives to large scale farming is truly under
way. What is more essential is the need to inculcate
the importance and knowledge related to agriculture
among the youths. Through MARDI’s technological
outputs and interaction in many programs
under Green Shoot, Tani Warriors and Program
Agropreneur Muda initiatives, youths from school
children to adults below the age of 40 are exposed
with ideas and methods pertaining to household
farming. It is vital to convey to the next generation
that not only agriculture the cornerstone for the
progress of mankind, but realizing that it should be
done sustainably without forfeiting the interests of
the environment.
Perhaps, we can foresee a future civilization that
is constructed on the basis of communal farming.
These household nodes connected through modern
applications of technology, including sensors and
actuators, allows each household to monitor, control
and manipulate in real time the yield and harvest
of their crops, as well as allowing other household in
their community to barter or buy excess crops that
they require. Perhaps, this practice is already in
place, we just need to expand it and save the world.

By : Umi Kalsum Hussain Zaki and Nazarifah Ibrahim
Food Science Technology Research Centre, MARDI

The average calorie requirement for a sedentary
adult in a day is 1,500 kcal compared to 2,500 kcal
for a highly active adult. MARDI has introduced the
“Nutrima-bento”, a concept adopted from Japanese
Bento meals based on the Food Plate Portion which
has been used widely all over the world to support
balanced eating and a healthy diet. This plate
is divided into 3 portions of food groups which
includes half the plate of fruits and vegetables, ¼ of
carbohydrate and ¼ of protein. The Nutrima-bento
contains approximately 25% carbohydrate, 25%
protein and 50% fruits and vegetables. For serving,
each box will have the recommended calorie of 500
kcal for lunch or dinner. This boxed meal meets
nutrient requirements for a healthy individual and
utilises local Malaysian cuisine. It is served with a
label containing calorie value for each food plate
portion. The Corporate Management Meeting in
MARDI had been served with this Nutrima-bento
since July 2016. Seminars and conferences that are
held in MARDI’s premises are also being served with
similar concept for their meals.
This Nutrima-bento concept also helps to reduce
food wastage as the portion of food is sufficient for
healthy calorie requirement of an individual. This
will promote awareness on the daily consumption
portion as part of the MySaveFood Initiative
Campaign coordinated by MARDI and the Ministry
of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries.

December 2016

5

COLLABORATION

Rice
Company

Product(s)

Bayer

• Bayer Seed
Growth
• Bayer Hybrid
Rice

BASF (Malaysia)
Sdn. Bhd.

• Rice Varieties
MR220-CL1 and
MR220-CL2
plus Onduty
Clearfield Rice
Production
System

Agro
Mechanization
(M) Sdn. Bhd.

• The MARDI
Powered Air
Injection Paddy
Row Seeder

National Farmers
Organisation
(NAFAS)

• Compound
fertilizer for hill
paddy

Felcra Plantation

• Paddy variety
MR1A (Padi
AEROB)

Horticulture
MARDI’s

International
and National

Food Products
and Machineries
Company

Product(s)

EVCO Sdn Bhd
(Wawasan Tebrau)

• New Modified Virgin
Coconut Oil (MVCO) based
products and MVCO based products

Ligno Biotech Sdn
Bhd

• Ligno Tiger Milk Mushroom

Furley Bioectracts
Sdn. Bhd.

• Standard extract of Phyllanthus

Buminiche Sdn.
Bhd.

• Nutrima Cellcode

Power Booster
Sdn. Bhd.

• Production of Selected Food
Processing Machineries
• Satay skewering machine
• Murtabak frying machine
• Murtabak forming machine
• Table -top traditional fish snack
forming machine (keropok lekor
processing)
• Lemang machine
• Kuih ros processing line
• Rempeyek processing line
• Multi usage pie forming machine

Momentum Plus
Sdn. Bhd.

• Halal information checking and
ordering system

Norsym Sdn. Bhd.

• Mass Propagation of Schizophyllum
commune (Cendawan Kukur) via
submerged bioreactor tehcnology for
food flavouring and nutraceutical
production

Persatuan
Pengusaha Kek
Lapis Sarawak

• Healthier kek lapis by substituting
sugar with stevia extract

JutaPintar Food
Sdn. Bhd.

• Processing of Frozen Pilaf Rice
and Ready to Cook Marinated Fish
Products

Hanania Agrotech
Sdn Bhd

• The Mushroom Patty Produced
From Grey Oyster Mushroom

Company

Product(s)

Power Booster
Sdn. Bhd.

• Durian Processing
System
• Rambutan
Deskinning and
Decoring Machine

Shahmura
Industries
Sdn. Bhd.

• Mangosteen Opener
Handtool

Pahang State
Farmer’s
Organization
(PASFA)

• Freshcut Fruits
(Jackfruits,
Pineapple, Durian
and Other Fruits)
Using Minimal
Processing
Technology

Mscape Sdn. Bhd.

• True-To- Type MD2
Pineapples Seed

Livestock

Farming Technologies
Company

Product(s)

CCM Fertilizers
Sdn Bhd

• NHA derivative
based products and
calcium booster

Greenearth (Intl)
Holdings Sdn.
Bhd

• High value custom
blend RHC organic
fertilizer

Elite Scientific
Intruments Sdn
Bhd

• Fully Controlled
Environment Green
House (F-CEGH)

NAFAS Jentera
Sdn Bhd

• Backpack Granular
Fertilizer Dispenser

PK Fertilizers
Sdn Bhd

• Growpine Nugget
and Compacted
Fertilizer For
Pineapple On
Mineral Soils

Waldania
Automation Sdn
Bhd

• Precision Seed
Dispenser For
Nursery Tray

Company

Product(s)

OPHL
Holdings (M)
Sdn. Bhd.

• Salmonella Detection
Kit (MicroTEZ)

Ladang Rakyat
Trengganu
Sdn. Bhd.

• Broiler ‘Ayam
Kampung’ MARDI
And Day Old Chick

TMEH
Marketing
Sdn. Bhd.

• Intergrated
Hydroponic - Fish
Crop (HFC) Kit

KoMARDI
Berhad

• A Sub Dermal RFID
Based Livestock
Profiling System

Lean Applied
Sdn. Bhd.

• FRID based dairy
production

6

December 2016

FOCUS

Popular

Malaysian
Cuisines
at
MAHA
FOOD
EMPIRE

M

alaysia is enriched with a wide variety of
specialty cuisines, with each state having
their own popular dishes, coupled with a
touch of the various cultures from the various states.
Similarly, the environment or material resources are
available in the various states to provide the special
touches to those cuisines.
Visitors to International Malaysian Agriculture,
Horticulture and Agrotourism Exhibition 2016
(MAHA 2016) will be able to enjoy 168 Malaysian
popular cuisines from all over the country when they
visit the Food Empire from 1-11 December 2016.
The Food Empire, the brainchild of the Minister of
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Datuk Seri
Ahmad Shabery Cheek, was presented to the public
for the first time during the FAMA 50 years festival in
December 2015. It will be presented again on a bigger
scale during MAHA 2016.
A total of 62 food entrepreneurs, including 19
young entrepreneurs, were identified to prepare the
various popular Malaysian cuisines to tempt your
palates. These entrepreneurs were selected during
the cooking competitions held during the state MAHA
programmes.
We do not have to go to Kuala Perlis just to enjoy
Laksa Kuala Perlis because it will be available at
MAHA 2016 together with other scrumptious dishes
from Perlis such as nasi daging utara and udang
sanggul. Visitors to MAHA 2016 can enjoy special
dishes from Melaka such as asam pedas, roasted
fish, laksa nyonya, prawn fritters and coconut shake.
Pahang will present its exotic cuisines such as
tempoyak ikan patin, sambal hitam belimbing bilis
and sambal tumis tempoyak, while Terengganu will
serve you among others the delicious nasi dagang and
fish sausage.

December 2016

FOCUS

Penang will offer their popular cuisines such as
laksa Penang, prawn mee, pasembor and char kuetiau.
Kedah will not leave behind its bihun soup utara and
various other dishes. Popular dishes from Johor will
include biryani rice, mee bandung, mee rebus and otakotak, while Negeri Sembilan will serve its hot and spicy
dishes such as masak lemak cili api, roasted lamb,
Gemas chicken rice and bone satay which is synonymous
with the town of Jelebu.
From Kelantan you will be tempted to taste nasi
kerabu, laksam, butir nangka and others. Rendang tuk
will always be the specialty dish from Perak together
with salty chicken, char kuetiau udang lipan and its
special coffee. Selangor will be serving its nasi ambeng,
nasi lemak, satay and also air batu campur (ABC).
Sabah will also beckon visitors with servings of cheesy
fried bananas while Sarawak will show off its kolok
noodles and laksa Sarawak.
What is more interesting this year is the cooking
demonstration of unique cuisines and exotic food from
every state as a way to introduce and promote exotic
and unique menus during MAHA 2016.
Among the dishes for the cooking demonstrations
are rojak kateh from Terengganu, lemang wrap in
pitcher plants from Johor, gedung chaq from Kedah,
tuhau floss, latok pickles and seaweed salad from
Sabah, salted puffer fish in coconut milk and jelly fish
salad from Sarawak, masak lemak cili api belulang
from Pahang, papaya klea and hearts from Perlis,
grasshoppers in coconut milk from Kelantan, asam
gerang fish eggs from Malacca, various types of satay
made from horse, ostrich and deer meat from Penang,
as well as itik kapitan from Perak.
Other promotional activities for MAHA 2016 Food
Empire include a tournament searching for Creative
Young Farmers Chef offering eight categories of
competition involving students from universities,
colleges and schools. A cooking competition based on
local products with focus on to the use of soursop and
corn will also be conducted. There will also be a Cucur
Corner offering fried cempedak cooked in a giant wok.
- Translated from Utusan Malaysia, 1st November 2016

7

8

December 2016

TECHNOLOGY

Web-Based RUMINANT FEED
FORMULATION AND BEEF FEEDLOT
DECISION Support System
By: Dr. Marini Ahmad Marzuki
Animal Science Research Centre, MARDI

F

eed is the major component in any livestock
enterprise and its increase is directly reflected
in the final livestock product cost. It is optimally
used in the poultry sector with advanced commercial feed
formulation softwares. Most local ruminant farmers and
smallholders are not familiar with nutrient requirements
of animals and generally tend to under or over feed them,
thereby reducing profit margins. Furthermore, the
availability of ruminant feed ingredients and their price
differs between different localities in Malaysia. In view
of this local situation, a web-based feed formulation was
developed to help farmers formulate least cost rations
based on available feed resources within their locality
to optimise feeding according to animal requirements
and improve efficiency. The web-based system developed
enables the user to formulate least cost rations for
beef cattle and also helps to predict the performance of
feedlot operations based on a decision support system
(DSS), available in both Bahasa Malaysia and English.
The system incorporates an ingredient database,
a least cost feed formulation module and a growth
performance module to estimate the profit of feedlot
enterprise. The DSS includes options for the use of
fodder and grass and estimates the land requirement
for its planting. The system enables the user to alter the
type of feed ingredients, its cost and evaluate different
feed combinations based on the nutrient requirements
for different stages of production. The DSS also enables
evaluation of the economic viability of a beef feedlot
production. The system can assist farmers to make
intelligent decisions to optimise the cost of feed.

The core optimisation engine of the feed formulation
system was developed using Optimise Modelling
language (OML) from Microsoft Solver Foundation
Services integrated with Linear Programming
(LP) methodology. The system is maintained by an
administrator and the user has to register online to get
access. The flow of the system after registration begins
with the selection of animal category (calf, grower,
pregnant, lactating etc.) which determines their required
nutrients. Alternately, there is an option for the user to
formulate custom diets. Next is to choose the ingredients
available in the database and its price, maximum and
minimum limits for inclusion can be changed by the
user. Subsequently, the user can run the program and
obtain a least cost ration formulation. The ingredient
database is maintained by the Animal Science Research
Centre, MARDI. If the user has any new ingredients or
specialised rations, it can be sent to MARDI for analysis
and inclusion into the database with a specific identity
if required. As an addition, a beef feedlot DSS has been
incorporated in the system. The user can choose to test
his formulated feed on a beef feedlot enterprise to assess
its economic viability including the requirement for
grassland if partial forage feeding is chosen. All system
outputs can be printed for reference.
At present, the system is provided free after
registration and can be used by all farmers, feed
producers or as an online university module for teaching
ruminant nutrition. An advance chargeable module for
customised feed formulation is under construction.

Main page of DSS system
Main page of DSS system

Decision Support System for beef feedlot

Ruminant Feed

Reducing PADDY POSTHARVEST LOSSES
By: Dr. Azman Hamzah
Engineering Research Centre, MARDI

P

ostharvest lossess (PHL) of paddy can be
defined as losses that occur due to spills,
human negligence and incompetence during the
postharvest handling operations, inefficient processing
system that results in broken rice and improper
storage resulting in unpleasant odours, discolouration
and insect attacks. Postharvest losses of paddy can be
measured quantitatively and qualitatively. Reduction in
PHL of paddy is necessary to increase Malaysia’s rice
self-sufficiency level (SSL).
Currently, the SSL of rice is 71.5%, while the rest
is imported. In 1985, Malaysia produced about 1.95
million metric tonnes of paddy with PHL of about 28.5%
which was estimated at 557,000 metric tonnes resulting
in a revenue loss of RM276 million based on the paddy
price at RM496 per metric tonne. The high amount of
losses prompted MARDI to conduct a study to determine
the causes of PHL and proposed solutions to reduce it.
The study began in 2015 and covers all the postharvest
handling chain including harvesting, transportation,
drying, milling and storage. The study was conducted
in the granary areas such as the Muda agriculture
development areas (MADA) in Kedah, the integrated
agriculture development areas in Terengganu (IADA
KETARA) and the Kemubu agriculture development
areas (KADA) in Kelantan.
In 2015, Malaysia produced about 2.6 million metric
tonnes of paddy and the PHL was reduced to about
9.97%. However, this still resulted in a loss of 259,000
metric tonnes of paddy valued at about RM311 million
based on the current price of paddy at RM1,200 per
metric tonne.

Harvesting

Paddy PHL during harvesting are caused by poor
performance and condition of harvesters used during
the harvesting process resulting in imperfect cutting of

paddy stalks which contributes to spillage during the
process. There are two types of paddy harvesters used in
Malaysia, namely, tangential flow and axial flow. Study
on comparison of the PHL caused by these harvesters is
still ongoing. However, improvement in the technology
used resulted in the reduction of harvesting loss from
about 9.0% in 1985 to 4.9% in 2015.

Transportation

The main causes of PHL during transportation are
imperfect and unsuitable conditions of lorries while
transporting the paddy. Losses occurred along the
transportation chain, i.e., during transferring of paddy
from the harvester to the lorry, transporting of paddy to
the central collection areas, management and control of
paddy in the central collection areas and transporting
of paddy from the central collection areas to the milling
plant. The baseline losses of paddy in the transportation
chain from paddy fields up to the milling plant was
6.0%, while the losses during transportation chain in
2015 was 1.10%. There was a decrease of 4.9% in PHL
due to the introduction of a good, sealed transportation
system. In addition, proper handling practices during
transportation of paddy from fields to factories also
reduced the rate of losses.

Drying

Losses during drying started from the collection of
wet paddy before being dried. The losses can be due
to delays in the drying process after harvest, spillage
during mechanical loading of paddy into the dryer, the
use of high temperatures during the drying process and
spillage during the transfer process out of the dryer. The
dry paddy quality in terms of percentage of head rice
yield, broken rice and milling recovery is also considered
in determination of PHL during drying. Losses in paddy
drying were found to be insignificant (0.37% in 2015) in
comparison to the basic data of 3.50% in 1985.

Milling and storage

The paddy PHL during milling can be divided into two

elements, i.e., poor handling and machinery inefficiency.
Poor handling during the milling process resulted in
a lot of spillage. Inefficient machineries incur losses
during the process of husk and bran removal and rice
grading. Spillage occurs during the transfer activities in
each process (due to inefficient conveyor belts).
Losses during storage are mainly due to the reduction in
the rice quality such as discolouration which is affected by
the storage technique. There is greater reduction in quality
when rice is stored in commercial stores in comparison to
hemetic or airtight storage. Insect attack is another factor
which reduces rice quality and quantity during storage.
Postharvest losses during storage are measured by the
physical quality of the paddy and the number of insects
present in a unit area. The baseline losses for milling and
storage are about 10.0% in 1985 and 3.6% in 2015.
Harvesting

Transportation

PADDY POST
HARVEST LOSSES

Milling &
Storage

Drying

December 2016

9

COMMERCIALIZATION

High Free Phenolic Acid Juice:

NUTRIMA

TM

A

ntioxidants are compounds that prevent
oxidative damages and hence may avoid the
development of chronic diseases such as cancer,
cardiac disease and premature aging. The effectiveness
of antioxidant products cannot be based only on total
antioxidant activity, but, the health benefits of plant
antioxidants such as flavonoids, which can contribute
to human health, depending on their bioavailability.
However, most flavonoids are not well absorbed in
humans and appear to be absorbed in very small
amounts in the stomach and small intestine. Substantial
quantities are metabolised/catabolised by the action of
colonic microflora to form small molecules known as
phenolic acids. This process however, mainly occurs at 5
to 24 hours after ingestion.
The beneficial effects of flavonoids may also decrease
if these compounds interact with food matrices,
including carbohydrates, lipids, emulsifiers and proteins
which have the ability to decrease flavonoid absorption,
metabolism and catabolism in humans. For example,
interaction of orange flavonoids with milk protein cannot
be dissociated by the colonic microflora and remains as
part of the residue after fermentation. Consumption of
protein-rich yoghurt while drinking orange juice also
decreases flavonoid catabolism to phenolic acids in the
human colon.
Due to low absorption, time consuming metabolism
and food matrices effects that may decrease flavonoid
metabolism in humans, high intake of free phenolic
acids food/drink could overcome this problem. Free
phenolic acids have been reported to be high and rapidly
absorbed antioxidants in humans. It is also known to

JUST GREAT

MUSHROOM
BURGER
- PATTIES
FOR HEALTH

By: Mohd Irwani Hafiz Sahid
Promotion and Business Development Centre, MARDI

M

ushrooms are known as health foods because
they are low in calories, sodium, fat and a good
source of dietary fibres. Fibres from plantbased materials give a good functional property to food.
Therefore, more value-added products from mushrooms
should be developed as health foods.
Currently, there are about 300 mushroom growers
across the country with a production capacity of more
than 50kg a day. Mushrooms have been declared as an
industrial crop by the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrobased Industry (MOA) and its cultivation is expected
to contribute to the economy and balance of trade. It
is also used in the poverty eradication programme of
the Ministry of Rural Development since 2010. Even
though the mushroom industry is expanding, it is
now experiencing several problems. Fresh mushrooms
are characterised by a short shelf life linked to the
postharvest changes. Mushroom production also faces
the problem of seasonal glut especially during rainy
season. Food processing could prolong the shelf life of
perishable vegetables such as mushrooms. Therefore,
efforts should be taken to develop the mushroom
industry through research and development not only on

By: Dr. Suri Roowi
Food Science Technology Research Centre, MARDI

have various health benefits to control inflammation,
making the cells stronger and decay-resistant, preventing
growth of abnormal cells, boosting the immune system
and improving blood circulation, all of which produce
significant anti-aging benefits in the body.
Based on this information a study was conducted to
develop a high free-phenolic acid juice (NUTRIMATM
JUST GREAT) using selected tropical fruits such as
soursop, lime and mango. These tropical fruits were
selected because they contained high amounts of free
and conjugated phenolic acids. The mixed fruit puree
was treated with edible enzymes or pure cultures.
The amount of free phenolic acids in NUTRIMATM JUST
GREAT was higher than any of the six commercial
antioxidant products tested (Table 1). Shelf-life study of
NUTRIMATM JUST GREAT showed that this product can
last up to 18 months when stored at room temperature.
Studies on the safety and toxicity of this product have
also been carried out in order to develop a scientifically
proven high quality and safe product. A 28-day-study on
the possible toxic effect of NUTRIMATM JUST GREAT
in Sprague-Dawley rats showed this product is safe to
be consumed as no abnormal parameters were noted.
Supplementation of aged rats (12 months old rats
equivalent to 50-60 years in human) with NUTRIMATM
JUST GREAT increased the antioxidant enzyme
significantly as compared to control. NUTRIMATM JUST
GREAT also significantly reduced cholesterol levels and
increased the percentage of high density lipoprotein
(HDL) of aged rats. This product also stabilized white
blood cells (WBC) and liver enzymes. These findings
suggest that NUTRIMATM JUST GREAT has great

potential health benefits to human.
Based on the technology generated, it is anticipated
that NUTRIMATM JUST GREAT will be accepted by
health conscious individuals. There is great confidence
in this product as it is developed by MARDI which is
recognised to have high capability in conducting high
quality R & D activities. The commercial production
of NUTRIMATM JUST GREAT is done by NutriBeverages Sdn. Bhd., a certified company with GMP,
HACCP and ISO 9001:2000. NUTRIMATM JUST
GREAT has also obtained the halal status from JAKIM.
Marketing and distribution of the product is done by
Q-Base Resources Sdn. Berhad.

the cultivation aspect but also development of products
from local mushrooms.
The grey oyster mushroom (Pleurotus pulmonarius)
was used in our study because it is the most widely
cultivated commercial mushroom in Malaysia. They
are sold fresh in wet markets and purchased as
culinary mushroom. Since mushroom growers focused
in marketing fresh mushrooms, the use of grey oyster
mushrooms as the main ingredient in food products is
still relatively limited. The application of mushrooms
as the main ingredient in processed foods such as
mushroom burgers is a worthy innovation. Therefore, the
main objective of this study was to move the mushroom
farming industry into value-added lines such as food
products.
The use of mushrooms as the main ingredient in food
products has many benefits especially in preventing or
reducing life threatening diseases. The dietary fibres
present in mushrooms are associated with increasing
the transit time of bowel contents and bulk, frequency
and ease of faecal voiding. Mushroom dietary fibres
also protect the body from irritable bowel syndrome and
colon cancer.
Using the grey oyster mushroom (Pleurotus
pulmonarius), MARDI developed the mushroom burger
as a functional food. The grey oyster mushroom burger
contains 8.3g/100g protein, 5.5g/100g dietary fibre,
2.3g/100g ash, low fat and no cholesterol. The burger
is not only nutritious, it also has medicinal values as
it contains 6.12% beta-glucan, which is mainly found
in the cell walls of the mushrooms, firmly bound to
other molecules responsible for the strength and shape
stability of the cells. It is a heat stable compound and
not affected by cooking. Many studies have shown
that beta-glucan can lower cholesterol levels in the
blood. Animal study conducted to investigate the anticholesterolemic effect of mushroom burgers showed that
its consumption can lower cholesterol as well as the
low density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as the bad
cholesterol. The study also showed that the mushroom
burger increased the level of the high density lipoprotein
(HDL), also known as the good cholesterol. The intake
of the mushroom burger also did not increase the mice

body weight. Thus, the mushroom burger developed by
MARDI is a healthy food product which can boost the
immune system, lower blood pressure, inhibit the growth
of cancer cells, reduce inflamations, high in antioxidants
and prebiotics. Hence, with the increase in awareness
on the benefits of mushrooms among consumers, this
mushroom burger can be commercialised to encourage
the community towards eating a healthy diet.

10

December 2016

SUCCESS STORY

The BrandLaureate Award 2016

won by MARDI: Leader in Agrofood
Research and Innovation
By: Rohani Yon
Corporate Communication and Quality Centre, MARDI

issue#31 December

Currently, MARDI’s R&D&C focus includes:
• Food security and nutrition
• Postharvest losses
• Early warning system and disease control
• High value products
• Mechanisation and precision farming
• Climate change
• Wealth creation using biotechnology and biodiversity
• Green technology and sustainable agriculture
• Urban agriculture
• Research commercialisation and production
• High quality seed production
• Consultancy experts
• Agrotechnopreneur
• Agroservices
• Agrotourism

5

- January 2016
KDN PQ / PP16972

/ 08 / 2011 (028331)

RM15 WM
RM18 EM

December-jan

O

n October 13 2016, MARDI was awarded the Brandlaureate
Industry Champion Brand Icon Leadership Award 2016 for
pioneering R&D in Agrofood. The Award was presented by
the Asia Pacific Brand Foundation (APBF) in recognition of MARDI’s
efforts in transforming the agriculture sector.
APBF was established in 2005 as a non-profit organisation which
aspires to increase the level of branding awareness in Malaysia and
the world, as well as to identify and nurture outstanding Malaysian
brands to be global brands. This organisation recognised MARDI’s
efforts to be a world class research institution that exudes worldquality standards especially in agrofood research. The MARDI brand
has long been recognized by entrepreneurs in the agrofood sector
as an institute that promotes world-class quality in R&D, product
development and services. Receiving the Brandlaureate Award
confirms this recognition.
Since its establishment in 1969, MARDI has upheld its main
objective to generate and promote new, relevant and efficient
technologies for the advancement of food, agriculture and agro-based
industries in Malaysia. Throughout the years, MARDI has evolved
according to the nation’s and global focus and needs, and has become
a beacon in agriculture and agrofood transformation. MARDI’s
successes and future plans are featured in a 10-page article in The
Brandlaureate Review September issue.

uary’ 14 #issue19

Rice varietal development in
MARDI for food sovereignty
By: Dr. Asfaliza Ramli
Rice Research Centre, MARDI

V

arietal development has been a mandate to
MARDI since the 1970s and until today a total
of 44 varieties have been released for planting
in the granary areas. The breeding objectives varied
in accordance to the needs of the different era. In
the 1970’s Malaysia started to implement doublecropping for rice after the Japanese occupation. For
successful double-cropping, the varieties must have a
maturation period of less than 145 days and be nonphotoperiodic. Almost all of the traditional varieties
planted at that time were photoperiodic and would
not flower until December when the days are shortest.
The first successful non-photoperiodic variety was
Mahsuri, developed from a cross between Japonica
and Indica, and it was released in 1965. It was an
easy shattering variety suited for manual harvesting.
Despite its short to medium grain type, it was widely
planted because of the excellent eating quality.
However, the plants were too tall and prone to
lodging. Further, it was susceptible to blast disease.
These factors motivated breeders to produce varieties
that were shorter and resistant to blast. In the late
1960s and early 1970s, many crosses were made
for the improvement of Mahsuri and Ria. Several
successful varieties resulted from this programme,
including improved Mahsuri, which farmers called
by many names such as Apollo, Anak Dara and Mat
Candu. Malinja, Mahsuri and Bahagia were accepted
by farmers and were planted twice per year, but they
were still prone to lodging since their heights were
still too tall at 140-150 cm.
Breeding and selection for shorter plants produced
rice varieties with culm heights of approximately 100

to 115 cm. These varieties were released to farmers
between 1974 and 1990. From 1990 to 2006, selection
for semi-dwarf plants was the primary objective.
Thus, rice varieties released during those years
possessed culm heights between 56 and 90 cm. These
varieties showed significant increase in yield and
varieties such as MR84, MR219, MR232 and MR253
showed average yields of approximately 6-8 tonnes
per hectare.
Direct seeding was introduced in the 1990s
with the aim of increasing production. The plant
architecture had to be changed to suit the switch from
manual transplanting to the direct seeding system.
Characteristics such as erect leaves, erect tillers,
low tillering capacity, shorter plant height, better
rooting structure and panicle-weight type rather
than panicle-number type were important breeding
objectives in this process. The demand for finegrained and fragrant rice has remarkably increased
the import tonnage which prompted the breeding of
specialty rice. Two varieties were released from this

breeding programme: MRQ50 and MRQ74.
Apart from yield and plant stature, resistance to
pests such as brown planthopper was also improved by
introducing resistance genes from International Rice
Research Institute (IRRI) and Indian rice varieties
such as Ratu Heenathi and Pankhari. Traditional
rice varieties such as Sigadis, Tadukan and Pongsu
Seribu, which are known to be resistant to blast,
were also used in the breeding programme. From
its establishment until 2010, MARDI released 33
varieties. Two of the varieties, MRQ50 and MRQ74,
are aromatic, fine-grained rice. MR84 was the most
successful variety planted between 1986 and 2002,
covering almost 97% of the total rice granary areas.
MR219 was popular for its high yield and lasted for
20 years and still receive demands from farmers.
As agricultural practises and new technologies are
introduced, MARDI is well ahead in developing
rice varieties and increasing farmers’ income and
currently, healthier life is the major goal for varietal
development.

December 2016

SUCCESS STORY

MYSaveFood Initiative – Working together

towards reducing food loss and waste in Malaysia
By: Dr. Ainu Husna M S Suhaimi
Corporate Communication and Quality Centre, MARDI

T

he numbers are staggering, the impacts are horrendous. Imagine, one
third of all food produced globally ends up in the waste dump. That
is equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes a year. So much sweat, energy and
resources are wasted. Not mentioning, food thrown away also has detrimental
effects to food security, environment and economy.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
and Messe Dusseldorf decided to do something about it and established
the SAVEFood network in 2011. In October 2015, led by MARDI, Malaysia
decided to jump on the bandwagon and established the Malaysia SaveFood
(MySaveFood) Initiative. The main aim of this initiative is to establish a
network and together, create awareness on food loss and waste in Malaysia.
Its launch by YAB Datuk Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Deputy Prime Minister of
Malaysia and FAO Director- General, Dr. Jose Graziano Da Silva on 8 March
2016 had triggered a general awareness on food loss and waste in Malaysia.
The Malaysian numbers are equally alarming. About 28.5% of rice
produced is lost yearly during postharvest activities and the cost of this loss
is RM918 million. As much as 30-50% of fruits and vegetables produced do
not reach the consumers and are lost along the value chain. However, the
number that really caught everyone’s attention was the colossal amount of
food that Malaysians waste daily which is 15000 tonnes. This is as much as
eight football fields! Even worse, 3000 tonnes of it are food that can actually
still be eaten! To put it in context, 3000 tonnes of food can feed at least 2.2
million people.
When these facts were revealed during the MYSaveFood forum: Value
Food No Waste in May 2016, the media caught on. For the next couple of
months, MYSaveFood was featured on almost every major television channels
in Malaysia and several radio channels too. To date, there are more than 140
newspaper articles written by MYSaveFood, its partners or other concerned
citizens and the numbers are still growing.
Tackling an important issue as food loss and waste requires a concerted
effort from all relevant industry players from the government, private and
NGOs. Thus, the MYSaveFood network was formed. The initial secretariat
lead by MARDI include the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Ministry of
Health, SWCorp, Seacon International and The LostFood Project .To date,
more than 60 organizations and individuals from government organizations,
private sectors and NGOs have joined the network. Together, we share
information on knowledge on food loss and waste and support each other
activities. Some of the activities done by MYSaveFood and partners include
awareness in schools with TV3 School Attack program, Ramadhan charity
program with SWCorp, Pemuda GEMA and Persatuan Kg Bharu, KIK
Hybrid MARDI-SWCorp program, Awareness Seminar interpack- Messe
Dusseldorf group, MySaveFood@ JamuanRaya of MOA and Nestle, Public
Service Announcement of MYSaveFood at Media Prima Channels, sharing
SAVEFood Information with partners. Partners especially NGOs like The
Lost Food Project, Food Aid Foundation and GrubCycle are also working with
hotels and retailers to collect unsellable and uneaten edible food to be resold
or given to charities.
MARDI as the head of secretariat is also doing its part to reduce food loss
and waste. Our impactful research on postharvest losses for rice, fruits and
vegetables will continue. We are also working on composting for both farm
and food waste. MYSaveFood awareness at all MARDI stations is continuous
and we are serving bento-box concept meals in major events to reduce food
waste and promoting eating in healthy portions as well. Impact study on the
success of MYSaveFood is ongoing to ensure our initiative is making impact
to the public.
It is hoped that this awareness will spread nationwide and will trigger
everyone to do their parts to reduce food loss and waste including development
of programmes, guidelines and policies. Catch MYSaveFood@MAHA at hall
D to know about food loss and waste as well as join in our noble quest.

MY

11

12

December 2016

EVENTS
International Workshop on Effective
IP Protection and Commercialisation
Strategies for Agricultural Innovation
By: Nur Aida Mohd Padzil
Corporate Coomunication and Quality Centre, MARDI

M

ARDI and The Food and Fertilizer
Technology Center (FFTC), Taiwan jointly
organised an important workshop held
at MARDI Serdang from 18-20 October 2016. The
workshop titled “International Workshop on Effective
IP Protection and Commercialisation Strategies for
Agricultural Innovation” successfully involved 12
participants from eight member countries, namely,
Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Philippines,
South Korea, Thailand and Viet Nam. MARDI was
the representative for Malaysia and two officers from
TCO were involved as speakers for the workshop, Mr.
Mohd Nur Hafiz Mat Azmin as a resource speaker
and Mr. Mohd Fauzy Tambi as a country speaker.
This workshop aimed to provide an avenue
for researchers from public research institutions
and universities from the respective countries to
share their experiences involved in the process
of commercialisation of the different innovations
and its challenges. In addition, resource persons
at the workshop provided the best technology

commercialisation
models
based
on
their
personal success experiences in improving the
commercialisation process so as to enhance the
efficiency in food production.
Officiated by MARDI Director General, YBhg.
Datuk Dr. Sharif Haron, this programme involved
a two-day workshop with a one-day field trip. To
strengthen the networking between MARDI and
FFTC, both parties have mutually agreed to sign an
MOU to formalise the collaboration strategically. As
such, the MOU exchange was conducted alongside
the opening ceremony.
As a co-organiser for this programme, MARDI was
represented by YBrs Dr. Mohammad Roff Mohd Noor
(Deputy Director General of MARDI) as co-chairman
of the workshop together with the Head of FFTC.
Various topics which covered intellectual property
rights (IP), models of technology commercialisation
from government research institutions, case studies
and challenges faced in the commercialisation of
agricultural innovations were actively discussed.

National Conference on

strategy. The food produced today determines the
people’s healthy life styles and also the level of
physical and mental health of future generations.
The challenge in providing the demand of food
supply for the nation becomes more and more critical.
The rapid increase in population growth compared to
the growth of agricultural production increases the
gap for dependency towards imported products. This
situation can disrupt the country’s food sovereignty
if food supply crisis occurs among the countries that
exports to Malaysia. Furthermore, the Malaysian
market openness due to free trade liberalisation
agreements might affect the competitiveness of local
agricultural products both in domestic and global
markets.
The conference was organised as a manifesto in
conjunction the upcoming MAHA 2016 which will be
held from 1st to 11th December 2016. This inaugural
conference was held to discuss the long term strategy
that has potential to be formulated not just to ensure
sufficient food supply in the country, but also affordable
to the whole community and has high quality to ensure
the health and fitness of the people. This aspect is
important to enable an effective growth of the
country’s economy.
Six papers were delivered by Professor Emeritus
Datuk Dr. Mahadzir Mardan, CEO of Malaysian Palm

Our Food
Our Future

By: Nur Akmal Hassan
Corporate Communication and Quality Centre, MARDI

O

n November 8, 2016, MARDI Director General,
YBhg. Datuk Dr. Sharif Haron officiate the
National Conference on Our Food Our Future
(OFOF) that was held in MARDI headquarters. He also
delivered the keynote address.
Nowadays, food becomes our strength. Food is life,
and agriculture is one of the major food sources. To
ensure a steady supply and the sovereignty of food
in the country, a long-term strategic plan must be
constructed from now. Failure to draw up the right
and sound strategy may threaten the country’s food
security in the future. The increase in population,
modern life and changes in the current life styles
are challenges to the agricultural sector in ensuring
adequate food supply, its quality and convenience
for now and the future. Food plays a vital role in the
growth of the nation through the right nutritional

Southeast Asia
Vegetable Symposium
(SEAVEG 2016)
By: Dr. Ainu Husna M S Suhaimi
Corporate Communication and Quality Centre, MARDI

T

he Southeast Asia Vegetable Symposium
(SEAVEG 2016) was held from 6-8 September
2016 at Putrajaya Marriot Hotel. It was
jointly organised by MARDI, The World Vegetable
Centre (AVRDC), Vegetable Science International
Network (VEGINET), Department of Agriculture
Thailand, ASEAN-AVRDC Regional Network
for Vegetable R&D  (AARNET), Department of
Agriculture Malaysia, Green World Genetics and
Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority Malaysia
(FAMA).
The conference gathered more than 150
participants from the academics, research and
industry players  of the regional vegetable industry
to achieve its objectives which were:
1. To promote food and nutrition security and
livelihood
2. To provide a platform for the participants
to communicate, discuss and share new ideas,
innovations and products;
3. To exchange ideas in addressing various issues
in vegetable production.
With the theme “Vegetable for Improved
Nutrition and Livelihood in Southeast Asia”,

Through this workshop, information exchange and
sharing of successful technology commercialisation
methods between countries were realis ed. The
workshop also created an awareness on the importance
and impact of R&D towards the commercialisation
process.
Apart from the workshop, participants visited
the Greenearth International Holdings Sdn. Bhd.
factory in Banting, Selangor, on the last day of the
programme to see the production of BioRichar, one
of the recent fertilizer technologies developed by
MARDI that is currently being commercialised. Later
during the day they visited the Stingless Bee Farm in
MAEPS, Serdang.
Oil Association (MPOA); Dr Ahmad Fauzi Puasa,
Deputy President of Malaysian Institute of Economic
Research (MIER); Dr Rozhan Abu Dardak from
MARDI; En. Alias Ali from Perusahaan Jeruk Pak
Ali (Pulau Pinang); En Azuan Mohd Zin, an urban
agriculture young entrepreneur and Datuk Rosyam
Nor, director and well-known actor who is the current
icon in the agricultural sector. This conference was
attended by 200 entrepreneurs and 100 participants
from different backgrounds and fields related to
economic and agricultural sectors.

SEAVEG 2016 was launched by His Excellency,
Deputy Minister of MOA, YB Tuan Nogeh
Gumbek. He also launched MARDI’s newest
biochar-based organic fertilizer, BioRichar. In
conjunction with the conference, an exhibition
and a USAID Horticulture Open Presentation
Session meeting were also held. Technical visits
were also arranged to Green World Genetics Sdn
Bhd, a research-based organization specializing in
the breeding of high quality hybrid seeds as well
as TITI Ecofarm, Jelebu, an organic agro-tourism
farm for visitors to understand and experience
organic farming in Malaysia.