Wednesday August 1, 2012
Growing the business
By M. SIVANANTHA SHARMA
email@example.com Photo by MUSTAFA AHMAD
ORGANIC vegetable farmers in Penang have been urged to obtain the Malaysian Organic Scheme (SOM) certificate issued by the Aricultural and Agro-based Industries Ministry to remain competitive in the market.
State Agiculture, Agro-based Industry, Rural Development and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Law Choo Kiang said only three farmers all over the state had the certificates in organic farming.
“All of them are from the south Seberang Prai district. Two of them are vegetable farmers while the third grows vegetables and mushrooms.
“Though land is limited in the state, the government still wants to make the agriculture sector competitive.
“As such, we urge the other farmers to get the certificate,’’ Law told a press conference during his visit to a farm run by Keng Beng Lee Industries (M) Sdn Bhd in Jalan Tasek, Simpang Ampat near Nibong Tebal yesterday.
Also present were the company’s manufacturing manager Emerald Tai, south Seberang Prai district agriculture officer Lim Kit Seang, Jawi assemblyman Tan Beng Huat and Sungai Bakap assemblyman Maktar Shapee.
Law said getting the certificate would give assurance to consumers that the products were genuinely organic.
He said the state had targeted for at least one farmer in each district to be SOM compliant.
“I urge all the agricultural department officers to assist the farmers to obtain the certificates,’’ he said.
He also advised those with certificates to follow the conditions stipulated in their certificate.
Meanwhile, Tai said their farm had obtained their SOM certificate in October and was committed to helping farmers who cultivated with chemical fertilisers to opt for the organic method.
“More than 30 study groups have visited our farm. The visitors comprised kindergarten pupils and teachers from Penang and other states,’’ she said.
Among the vegetables cultivated at the seven-acre Baba Organic Farm are salad leaves, long beans, bitter gourd, ladies fingers, maize and mustard (sawi).