KUANG: About two-thirds of vegetable and fruit farmers who applied to be certified organic farmers failed to meet the criteria set, said Agriculture and Agro-based Industry deputy minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong on Saturday.
The MCA lawmaker said only 96 out of 295 farms had been accredited under Malaysia's Organic Scheme (SOM) since 2002.
He said many farmers were unable to meet requirements due to the stringent application processes set by the ministry.
“Organic planting is a very tedious process, it requires a lot of skills, knowledge and investment.
“No chemicals are allowed for pest control, there are higher costs compared with conventionally-grown items... In addition, before you even qualify for application, you must not have used chemicals for one year. It is not easy for many farmers,” he said after launching the Zenxin Organic farm open day in conjunction with its 10th anniversary celebrations here.
Chua said the consumption of organic food products amongst local consumers was a rising trend, especially for those in the urban areas due to their higher income.
He suggested farmers who were interested in organic farming joined Skim Amalan Ladang Baik (SALM), an agriculture practices scheme certified by the ministry.
Chua added that there were a total of 513 farms certified under SALM nationwide.