Rabu, 21 Disember 2011

Products from SALM farms are of higher quality

Products from SALM farms are of higher quality, says Chua

KUALA LUMPUR: Agriculture products from farms which adhered to good agriculture practices enjoy good demand in the export market, said Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Chua Tee Yong.These farms, he said, were certified by the Agriculture Department under its SALM (Skim Amalan Ladang Baik) or good agriculture practices scheme, he added.However, he said, there were only 282 such farms with a total size of about 5,000ha compared with 200,000ha of conventional farms.Their production capacity is also quite limited, he said.
Spot the difference: Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Chua Tee Yong showing the SALM logo on agriculture products from farms which meet good farming practices . Looking on is Agriculture Department’s crop quality control division director Norma Othman. Chua said there was a keen demand for SALM certified vegetables and fruits from Singapore, especially from its restaurants and eateries. Such products were certified safe and of higher quality because their levels of pesticide residue, heavy metals and microbial contamination were below the permissible level, he added.“Apart from being issued a SALM certificate to vouch for their products, the farmers are also allowed to use the label on their packaging,” he said, adding that the farms would be inspected by the department every two years before their certificate could be renewed.Chua said the department had received 1,726 applications to convert conventional farms to SALM certified farms since 2002.Chua said there were basically three types of farms in the country – conventional farms, SALM farms, and organic farms which were certified under the department’s SOM scheme (Skim Organik Malaysia).He said farmers were encouraged to convert their conventional farms to SALM farms and then to organic farms. The ministry, he said, was ready to assist them in making the transition free of charge.This progression was in line with the rising trend in consumer demand and the government’s efforts to develop agriculture in the country, he said.Between 20% and 25% of consumers in the United States and European Union consumed organic products, and the figure was less than 3% in Malaysia.Effective Jan 1, all organic products must be from SOM certified farms and carried the SOM logo before they could be labelled as organic products.Farmers can be fined up to RM5,000 or jailed up to two years or both for non-compliance under Regulation 18(7) Food Regulations 85.Nevertheless, Agriculture Department’s crop quality control division director Norma Othman said the regulation did not cover products from SALM certified farms.

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