Benefits of sustainable agriculture
Agriculture is the largest employer in the world involving 40 percent of its population. Undoubtedly, it serves as the backbone and driving force behind the socioeconomic success of Malaysia. It not only produces agricultural products for domestic consumption, but also acts as a foreign exchange earner since Malaysia is a major exporter of rubber, cocoa and palm oil. Agriculture also contributes to the national gross domestic product by providing gainful employment for many people in the rural areas. Agricultural development in Malaysia is a continuing process that faces fresh challenges posed by globalisation and trade liberalisation.
Sustainable strategies should be adopted to ensure that Malaysia continues to produce enough agricultural products for local consumption as well as for export. Sustainable agriculture enables Malaysia to produce plant and animal products that utilise farming techniques that enhance the natural environment, public health and communities. It allows the country to produce enough agricultural products without compromising the ability of future generations to achieve the same goal. In general, it promotes socioeconomic stability and helps Malaysians to improve their quality of life.
Benefits of sustainable agriculture
According to Alan Chong, who established Gro Yield Holdings Berhad, sustainable agriculture applies green technology that stresses the use of products, equipment and systems to conserve the natural environment that in turn reduces the negative impact of human activities.
“It minimises the degradation of the environment by ensuring zero or low greenhouse emissions. It also helps conserve the use of energy and natural resources besides highlighting the use of renewable resources. It aims to attain energy independence and promote efficient utilisation while conserving and mitigating the impact of pollution,” Chong began.
Sustainable agriculture greatly contributes to environmental conservation.
“The environment plays a significant role in fulfilling our fundamental needs to sustain life, so we are responsible to conserve it so that future generations are not deprived of their needs. Innovative and sustainable agriculture helps to replenish our natural resources, ensuring that these natural resources can be used to sustain the needs of future generations,” he elaborated.
Besides environmental conservation, sustainable agriculture promotes public health safety and cost reduction.
“First, it avoids the use of hazardous pesticides and fertilisers that in turn produces fruits, vegetables and other crops that are safer for consumption. It focuses on the adequate management of waste, thus protecting humans from pathogens, toxins and other lifethreatening pollutants. Second, it reduces the burning of fossil fuels, leading to cost savings in terms of their purchase and transport. This in turn decreases the overall costs involved in farming,” Chong said.
Further, biodiversity, animal healthcare and social equality will greatly improve with sustainable agriculture.
“First, it fosters the growth of a broad array of flora and fauna, leading to soil enrichment, disease prevention and pest control. Second, animals will be better treated more humanely and allowed to develop in a natural way. Third, it benefits workers as they can earn a more competitive income with fringe benefits. In short, people will become more appreciative of biodiversity and animal healthcare, while working in a safer environment with adequate food and shelter,” he explained.
Sustainable agriculture helps promote the triple bottom line in agrarian countries such as Malaysia.
“The first bottom line is that, by applying sustainable agricultural techniques, largescale cultivators as well as smallholders can earn a fair wage for their produce. In Malaysia, it greatly reduces people’s reliance on government subsidies and empowers people in the rural areas. The second bottom line is that sustainable agriculture employs green technology that reduces the exploitation of nonrenewable energy resources. The third bottom line is that it enables people to become more socially responsible in terms of their environment and community,” Chong reiterated.
Gro Yield’s role in sustainable agriculture
Gro Yield offers a nutritional product for plants, the result of many years of scientific and practical research and development, followed by intensive applications in test site rubber plantations. The product increases latex yield and improves the overall health of the trees. The latex not only retains its dry rubber content (DRC), but also shows an increase in DRC percentage,” he said.
Chong further explained the vision and mission of Gro Yield.
“Our vision is to provide total healthy farming solutions for the government, corporate sector and smallholders, while our mission is to enhance the standard of living of smallholders via the use of an environmentfriendly product. We focus on high farming efficiency methods and production effectiveness, while encouraging an innovative culture and developing products to serve the community.”
Gro Yield has achieved several milestones since its inception. “Analytical tests were conducted and the product has been recommended by the Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority, Malaysia. Further, the Federal Land Development Authority, Malaysia had tested our product on rubber trees, yielding positive results. The product is now used by a qualified vendor for FELDA Global Ventures Holdings Berhad, besides being exported to China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar,” Chong enthused.
“Gro Yield offers a revolutionary product because it has a special formula based on many years of research and development. It is supported by countless hours of testing in the laboratory as well as in actual rubber plantations. Further, Gro Yield provides total plantation solutions for rubber trees and has shown astounding results in enhancing the health of the trees, internally to externally.
About the Author: Fung Lan Yong holds a PhD in Special Education (Gifted and Talented Education) from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She teaches Academic English and Mass Communication subjects at Jesselton College Sabah.