BERITA IDS (Volume 23, Issue 1/July 2008-June 2009)
Poverty Mapping in
Poverty is an issue that has great influence in shaping the development policy in Malaysia. Poverty rate in Malaysia is determined by reference to a threshold Poverty Line Income (PLI). The PLI is estimated based on what is considered to be the minimum consumption requirements of a household for food, clothing and other regular non-food items, such as shelter, fuel and power. The poverty rate or incidence of poverty is a measurement of the proportion of all households that are living below the PLI, which is adjusted for differential living costs between the regions of Malaysia.
While Sabah’s past
performance on poverty reduction can be said to be steady over the
years, with the poverty rate decreasing from 33.1% in 1984 to 26.2% by
1999, the main issue is that the State still lags far behind its
However, poverty analysis
based on state-level indicators such as the incidence of poverty is too
broad in nature to pinpoint the actual reasons for the high poverty rate
In this connection,
As a simple illustration of
Poverty Mapping, the State-level po-verty rate will be disaggregated
into sub-regional context based on the classification under the Sabah
Development Corridor Blueprint (2008-2025). When the poverty rates of
all the respective districts (as per official 2004 figures released by
the Economic Planning Unit,
From the sub-regional poverty map, some assumptions can be drawn to explain the higher poverty rate in the central sub-region of the State, which are as follows:
– The central sub-region of
Poor basic infrastructures and facilities – One major problem of the central sub-region is the size of its rural area, which is substantially lacking in basic facilities such as good road, electricity, clean water supply, telecommunication and decent school. This condition effectuates the rural communities to live in neglected and less developed circumstances.
Inadequate technology in agriculture – Agriculture is the mainstay of the central sub-region’s economy. However, given the development deficiencies of the area, the local communities can be assumed to be utilising mainly traditional and outdated agricultural practices where the level of agricultural technology is low instead of contemporary or modern methods. Hence, the output or yield of the communities is expected to be meagre and will not be able to improve their standard of living.
Lack of access to markets
and services –
Lack of education attainment – Given the obvious lack of education facilities in the central sub-region, most of the population can be said to have a low level of education attainment, which is one of the main causal of rural poverty. On top of this, out-migration of especially the youth in search of better employment due to lack of employment opportunities may have worsen the poverty situation in the central sub-region.
To enable further analysis
into the major causes and factors of poverty in the central sub-region
or in Sabah as a whole, more poverty maps will need to be constructed
such as those based on resource endowment, road facilities, access to
water, access to school, etc. When relevant poverty maps are interlaced
together, the true picture of poverty may be exposed. This task is made
easier with the recent technology advancement in GIS, databases and
software engineering. As indicators are mapped for higher resolution
administrative division, district or even kampung units,
geographic variability that was obscure in the aggregate data will
certainly become more visible. In general, Poverty Mapping can help
identify places in
With the advent of Poverty Mapping in Malaysia, it is hope that the Sabah focus group on poverty eradication can exploit this new approach to its fullest potential in order for more effective measures to be developed to trim down geographical disparity in Sabah and in doing so, reduce the overall poverty rate of the State to be more on par with the rest of Malaysia.– Richard T. Koh
The Potential of Halal Industry in
The Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) opens a window of opportunity for halal industry to grow in Sabah. The halal industry especially in the food and beverages sector has vast potential to be developed in the state. As it is, based on statistics provided by Matrade 2008, the global halal market is worth RM478 billion.
In line with the sectoral
focus of the SDC and the state development agenda known as the Halatuju,
agricultural activity is seen as one of the most important enablers for
the development of the state and the SDC besides tourism and
manufacturing. Indeed, the agriculture sector has always been the
The emphasis given by the
government on the development of the downstream activities in the food
industry also provide potential for the halal industry to grow in
Moreover with the launching
of Labuan Halal Distribution Hub by the Prime
Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in early March 2009,
transportation are other aspects that need to be seriously looked into
in order to develop the halal industry in
Introducing efficient traceability and control system in the food and beverages supply chain is also another important aspect that needs to be seriously considered. Implementing the traceability system would assist in meeting the HACCP and the GMP requirements, which are the two most important standards required to penetrate the global market.
The potential of the halal industry is indeed vast and
Advocating Sustainable Agriculture
The agriculture sector
contributed 28% or RM 4.1 billion to
Opening new forested lands
for agriculture could pose a serious threat to the ecosystem and could
cause more problems than it would provide solutions. It could also place
Intensification requires the use of new and modern tools. Biotechnology in agriculture or agricultural biotechnology (agro-biotechnology) offers new opportunities for solving agricultural problems, i.e., higher yields with less pressures on the environment.
OECD defined biotechnology as the application of science and technology to living organisms, as well as parts, products and models thereof, to alter living or non-living materials for the production of knowledge, goods and services. It involves various techniques of recombinant DNA, gene transfer, embryo manipulation and transfer, plant regeneration, cell culture, monoclonal antibodies and bioprocess engineering. Although there have been many criticism and skepticism over its utilization, it should be noted that the tools of biotechnology do not alter the purpose of agriculture; instead they complement traditional methodologies to enhance agricultural productivity. In contrast with the traditional method, biotech techniques are relatively fast, highly specific and resource efficient. The main application of agro-biotechnology is to increase yield while at the same time promote ecological sustainability. The table below shows some of the agro-biotechnology approaches and their applications in agriculture.
Agro-biotech provides long-term benefits in agriculture and health especially through bio-fortified crops.span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> Its application could significantly reduce smallholders’ dependence on fertilizers and pesticides.
Nevertheless, agro-biotech is not without risks. Therefore, effective risk management measures such as Biosafety Act and regulatory agencies must be in place to mitigate the risks of any introduced agro-biotech products.
Integrated, Green and Zero-waste approach
Conventional agriculture system needs to be improved so as to ensure efficient production of agriculture produce while protecting the ecosystem. Decreasing soil fertility, scarcity of water supply, increased prices of fertilizer and animal feed stocks are the things that the smallholders are faced with today. Improving the agricultural system by incorporating ‘integrated’, ‘green’ and ‘zero-waste’ approach, such as recycling of nutrients via innovative soil and water conservation methods could be adopted and should be implemented according to farming scale.
Organic farming (OF), for example, is suitable for small-scale farm producing vegetables. It is a form of agriculture that relies on rotation, green manure, compost, biological pest control and mechanical cultivation to maintain soil productivity and control pests. Organic farming is easy to maintain and requires little agricultural inputs. Integrating OF with ‘backyard farming’ initiative such as Program Bumi Hijau (introduced by the government to encourage urban and rural dwellers to farm their own staple food and vegetables), is a wise step in that it not only increases food supply in the country but also instils awareness for healthier and more nutritious organic produce. People with access to farm land could also take on hydroponics and fertigation techniques.
Mixed or integrated farming is a good approach for medium and large-scale farms. The system involves the practice of planting compatible crops in combination with livestock or aquaculture. This approach not only maximises the utilisation of land, farm resources, inputs and agro-wastes, it has also proven to increase farmer’s income.
Bigger farms such as oil palm plantations should adopt agro fo-restry practices. Agro forestry involves the integration of woody perennials with crops and animals under the same land management unit. The Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) system could be employed in combination with the organic and inorganic soil amendments (fertilizer). Composting waste from farm would contribute greatly to soil fertility, and at the same time, safeguard the surrounding environment.
It’s all about knowledge
One of the key challenges then is how to encourage more people to take up farming and exploit the vast potential of the agriculture sector. There is also a need for rural farmers and smallholders to be trained and exposed to Science, Technology & Innovation (STI). Well-informed farmers could make better decisions on managing their farm. It should be noted also that much idle and underutilised land is found in the rural areas.
SDC acknowledges the need to increase both land and farmer productivity. Under the Agri-Excel Outreach Programme, smallholders can have access to training in Good Agriculture Practice, demonstration of technologies, advisory services and purchase of agri-resources. Today’s biological agricultural revolution is knowledge intensive; and by producing knowledge-equipped farmers/smallholders, we could spearhead the revolution towards the emerging bio-economy. – Mary Sintoh and Justin Janim
Scope for greater Sabah-Perlis ties under SDC
A delegation from Perlis led by the Raja Muda of Perlis Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Ibni Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Jamalullail had a discussion with the management and senior staff of the Institute for Development Studies (Sabah) on 17 September 2008. It was held at the Magellan Su-tera Kota Kinabalu.
The Perlis delegation
unanimously agreed that there was scope for greater cooperation between
The Perlis delegation included its State Secretary, Encik Mohamad Zabidi bin Zainol Abidin, several state executive council members and heads of government departments and agencies. Also in the group was Vice Chancellor of University of Malaysia Perlis or UniMAP, Prof. Dato’ Dr. Kamarudin Hussin. The IDS group was led by its Executive Director, Datuk Dr. Mohd Yaakub Haji Johari.
Both parties agreed that
there were many opportunities for collaboration between the two states.
For example, Sabah could complement Perlis in its tourism sector which
is not as well developed compared to
Members of the Perlis
delegation had earlier been briefed by Dr. Yaakub on the concept and
strategies of the SDC. In his briefing, Dr. Yaakub had touched on the
underlying concept of the SDC that leverages on
Implementation of the SDC will span over a period of eighteen years from 2008 to 2025. SDC is guided by the principles of capturing higher value economic activities; promoting balanced economic growth with distribution; and ensuring sustainable development via environmental conservation. The key sectors to be promoted under the SDC initiative are agriculture, services (tourism and logistics), and manufacturing.
Dr. Yaakub highlighted several areas with potential for Perlis-Sabah collaboration such as tourism, logistics, agriculture and manufacturing. These include new lifestyle and wellness programme under tourism; food production and commercial crop cultivation; food processing and agrobio-pharmaceutical products; bio-prospecting and intellectual property rights; biomass and cellulose-based products; global supply chain and logistics in agro-industry.
Dr. Yaakub pointed out IDS is currently involved with UniMAP as its principal collaborator in a project funded by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI). The local collaborators are Sabah Forestry Development Authority (SAFODA) and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).
The project aims to develop
a complete localisation of the technologies required to successfully
develop tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) as a commercial crop in
Dr. Yaakub said trial cultivation of tea tree was being carried out at the Sabah Agro-Industrial Precinct (SAIP) demo plot at Kimanis, Papar. An offshoot of the project is to achieve full training, transfer of expertise, and development of site specific practices so that the crop can be cultivated by large groups of farmers in the state.
He said that one of the aims of SAIP, a project under the SDC, is to establish an efficient supply chain model that is capable of moving a product or service from supplier to customer. It will provide forward and backward linkages to industries or companies which seek to maximize their revenue within their sphere of interest in the supply chain. He added that SAIP is an integrated agrotech cluster to support agro-based small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups with components such as incubator centre, herbal farm, knowledge park, SME park and commercial and residential zones.