Chua: Only 96 farms meet organic standards

Posted on: 23rd February 2013
Sunday December 9, 2012

BATU PAHAT: About two-thirds of vegetable and fruit farmers who applied to be certified as organic farmers have failed to meet the criteria.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry deputy minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong said only 96 farms out of 295 were accredited under the Malaysia Organic Scheme (SOM) since 2002.
He said many farmers were unable to meet the requirements due to a stringent application process set by the ministry.
The ministry monitors and carries out tests on organic farms frequently to ensure quality organic products, he said.
“Organic planting is a very tedious process. It requires a lot of skill, knowledge, experience, investment and creativity of farmers.
“No chemical is allowed for pest control. The cost is higher compared with conventionally grown stuff.”
“In addition, before you even qualify to apply, you must not use chemicals for a year.
“This is not easy as evident in the failure of many farmers to fulfil the criteria,” he said, after launching Zenxin Organic farm open day in conjunction with its 10th anniversary celebration in Ayer Hitam yesterday.
Chua said acceptance of organic food products among local consumers was on the rise especially among those in urban areas because of higher income and awareness.
He said farmers who are interested in organic farming could start with SALM (Skim Amalan Ladang Baik), the good agriculture practices scheme certified by the ministry.
“Farmers can begin with SALM and later upgrade as the scheme allows chemicals, but on a very stringent basis,” he said
Chua added that there were a total of 513 farms certified under the scheme nationwide.
He said the ministry encouraged local farmers to apply for SALM or SOM as it would help them to export their produce overseas.