Generally, agro-based industry refers to an industry that adds values to agricultural raw materials through processing in order to produce marketable and usable products that bring forth profits and additional income to the producer. Under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-2010), development of agro-based industry will be focus on increasing utilization of agricultural produce in the production of high value-added products as well as processing activities.
Private sector is encouraged to invest in agro-based processing activities such as agriculture related GLCs, subsidiary companies of the agricultural agencies as well as relevant associations and cooperatives. The efforts also will be enhanced to increase participation of individual farmers and fishermen in agro-based processing activities so that the processing of end-products from agricultural industrial commodities will be increase further.
However, many of Malaysian food producers are still small enterprises, thus necessary incentives and expertise will be provided to encourage the agro-food producers to upgrade the quality of their products through practicing Good Manufacturing Practices (GM), Quality Assurances Programme (QAP), Hazard Critical Control Point (HACCP), ISO and other International Quality Standards. Besides, during the Ninth Malaysia Plan period, agro-based industry will be centered on innovation-based product development.
Furniture and furniture components manufacturers will be encouraged to focus on innovative product design and quality as well as expand their product range to include high-end niche products while improving existing activities. Measures will be undertaken to aggressively promote exports of high quality products in compliance with ecolabelling requirements to sustain market share as well as diversify into new markets. Issue Related – Food Crisis The food crisis situation seen in 2007 and 2008 with a sharp increase in asic food prices highlights the extreme vulnerability of the current agricultural and food model. The global food crisis is currently concentrated primarily in urban areas, where people in rural areas also suffering from the food crisis. The sharp price increases are beginning to cause widespread hunger as many families are using as much as 75 percent of their income for food. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the food crisis has left after another 925 million people in hungry.
The number of people suffering from malnutrition before the rise in the price of food in 2007 was 850 million, and it become 925 million in the same year which increased by 75 million. In fact, the current food crisis is already affecting directly or indirectly half of the population worldwide more than three billion people. There are several factors which causes the sharp increase in global food prices, such as the increased demand for food generally.
While production around the world has been increasing, consumption for food, feedstock, biofuels and other commercial uses has been growing at an even faster rate. Besides, there are many natural disasters globally like floods and droughts. Drought in some major producing areas also contributes to the higher food price. Drought is affecting Australia, the Balkans and the former Soviet Union. Other factors such as mold are affecting grain production in South Asia.
On the other hand, the increased demand for animal protein also one of the causes for higher food price. More affluent societies use large amounts of grain for conversion into dairy, eggs and meat. Conversion uses far more grain than if people simply ate the grain themselves. There have been tremendous increases in China and India, but also in other countries where standards of living are rising. Implications of the Global Food Crisis Food security is defined as physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet dietary needs.
The threes aspects of food security includes food availability, access and adequacy, where these three basic aspects must be attained for a country in order to achieve national food security. Due to the global food prices continue to rise and thereby ensuring food security is currently one of the greatest challenges facing by the world community. This challenge is most critical in low-income and food-deficit African countries. The reports from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have revealed that 36 countries are in the crisis globally, whereas 20 of these countries are in the Africa.
More to the point, food safety and food security are closely linked with each other. When food is in short supply, individuals are mainly concerned with satisfying hunger and are not compelled to consider food safety or even the quality of food. They will consume fewer fruits and vegetables but more fatty foods and staples that are low in energy and nutrients. This imbalanced diet has implications for the prevalence of obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
Besides that, lack of access to food influences food intake will result in impacting the health and nutritional status of households. Among the world’s undernourished children, most of them are come from sub-Saharan Africa. In detail, the food crisis has resulted in about 200 million Africans are hungry and malnourished where 31 million are under the age of five. Malnutrition contributes to poverty because it causes or aggravates illness, lowers cognitive function and thus educational attainment, and reduces productivity.
Food access, adequacy and quality are required to ensure that food security ultimately leads to an active healthy life for the individual as food is necessary for growth, resistance to or recovery from disease, and also necessary for physical work. In the long term, this crisis will result in impaired mental development, diminished learning ability, reduced work productivity, and the nutrition-related diseases. Conclusion As a conclusion, there is an immediate need and solutions for food crisis in order to prevent hunger and ensure the populations have access to safe food at the same time.
For example, raising the investments in environmentally sustainable agricultural productivity, better risk management tools, less food intensive biofuel technologies, and climate change adaptation measures are all necessary to mitigate the impact of expected food price volatility on the most vulnerable. On the whole, the involvement, cooperation, and collaboration between the health sector and other sectors play the main role to address the challenges associated with food access, adequacy, quality and safety by strengthen the design and implementation of food and nutrition policies.
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