Centre for Environment, Technology and Developement, Malaysia (CETDEM) Articles

on 8 Jul, 18:26

Food for Thought

Food for Thought

Time indeed flies very fast, the 1st half of the year is nearly over, reflecting on the Organic Farming situation in Malaysia. How far has the market developed – is there any new development at all? Are we happy with the level of consciousness (no doubt there is an increase of awareness) generated among the consumers? Do our organic farmers solely produce to supply and are content /complacent as marketing is not an issue? What about the wholesalers and retail shops – are they doing enough to address the nagging issue of the plight of the farmers, especially the small-scale farmers?

I still like to insist that we are not moving forward, even though we are made to believe so, just because many farmers, especially the contracted ones and the financially able ones, found their supply could meet the market demand. Yes, overall, the organic market is moving, the self claimed organics and certified organic produce are in demand. But do we just stop there? Years in years out, in all Organic Farming seminars/conferences organized, we kept addressing the same old issues such as land tenure, marketing, labour shortage, government support, technical know-how and certification process with futile result.

It is very frustrating and sad that after nearly 30 years, the consumers are still asking if the organic vegetables/fruits they purchased were genuinely organic. Many are cynical of the ‘My Organic Certification’ (formerly known as SOM). In fact, many people are not even aware of the ‘My Organic Certification’s’ existence. Thus, there is more to be done. We need concerted efforts from all the stakeholders to work together to lobby the MOA (Ministry of Agriculture) and other related government agencies to take organic farming more seriously. The DOA (Dept. of Agri.) must not stay aloof but be more proactive and willing to work together with all stakeholders/NGOs to bring Organic Farming to a greater height. By the way, Organic Farming is not even mentioned in the 11th Malaysia Plan!

CETDEM just hopes that the organic sectors including the producers/farmers could be more proactive if they want to see organic produce reach to larger masses. In order for the market to expand, all the organic sectors must work together to promote greater awareness on the importance of organic farming/food and more importantly address issues affecting the consumers and farmers as well as raising awareness on how climate change would have an effect on agriculture.

CETDEM has for years organized various activities such as public forums, seminars, Hari Organik and Farmer’s Corner etc to address various issues affecting consumers and farmers, providing opportunities to the organic business sectors to promote their products and home gardening. However, for the market to develop rapidly, we need the commitments and participation of all organic stakeholders to actively take part in events that are organized by CETDEM and others.

Last but not least, our earnest hope is to see the public, our supporters and members of the OF Project continue supporting us, as without their kind support and generosity, it will be tough for us to sustain our activities.

Hence, I end with wishing our Muslim members/friends a Meaningful and Fruitful Ramadan!

on 31 May, 17:40

CETDEM’s Community Compost Making #2: Waste Collection

CETDEM’s Community Compost Making #2: Waste Collection

This is the second of a multi-part series as we follow the CETDEM Community Composting Group through the steps of creating their compost heap from scratch. Part one (the Introduction) can be read here.

The Ingredients

There are many variations as to what one can put into the compost heap, therefore the list provided here by CETDEM’s Organic Farming Coordinator Mdm Tan is not definitive.

  1. Sugar cane residue (6 bags)
  2. Chicken dung (1 bag)
  3. Soil (1/2 bag)
  4. Rice bran (1/3 bag, optional, can be bought)
  5. Soya bean waste (1 bag, optional)
  6. Fresh weeds or tree leaves (8 compacted bags)
  7. Dried leaves/grass from the padang/garden -avoid nangka, mango and mangosteen leaves (8 bags, make sure that it is not wet)
  8. Jackfruit, banana , pineapple skin peels (3 -4 bags or whatever we can get)
  9. Sweet corn husks (2 bags or whatever we can get)

The following pictures show some of the waste collected (click on pictures to view gallery):

Collecting Waste in the Market

For this, we went to the SS2 market to collect whatever waste that we could. The Composting Group had coordinated beforehand to obtain items such as soybean waste and sugar cane residue from their contacts. Bags of dry leaves swept up by DBKL/DBPJ road cleaners were collected as well.

We arrived at the market around 8:30am and walked around to find organic waste as stipulated by Mdm Tan’s ingredient list. Mdm Tan had done this many times before and knew exactly where to get the waste, and wove through the market so quickly that it was difficult to keep up with her. The first round done at the market was to determine the types of waste available, and to reserve them in certain cases, in case the stall keepers discarded them before the market closed. The group then had breakfast to wait for more waste to accumulate as more people visited the market.

Traffic around the SS2 market was congested, and parking was difficult to find, therefore one of the members of the group was in charge of driving his truck to a meeting point while others did the collection.

The trip to the market was very fruitful as the group managed to collect a lot of items on the list, to bring back to the CETDEM Organic Farming Community Centre at SS19. The whole process of waste collection took less than an hour if we exclude the time having breakfast. The next step however would be the most interesting step: the building of the compost heap itself.

The CETDEM Community Composting Group is organised by CETDEM’s Organic Farming Coordinator, Mdm Tan Siew Luang, who has decades of experience in organic farming. Those interested to participate or organise a group themselves can contact her directly at of@cetdem.org.my.

on 25 May, 00:04

CETDEM’s Community Compost Making #1: Introduction

CETDEM’s Community Compost Making #1: Introduction

In August 2014, CETDEM organised its first Community Composting Group to build a compost to be shared by members of the group. MESYM was invited to document the process. This is therefore the first of a multi-part series as we follow the group through the steps of creating their compost heap from scratch.

Freshly built compost heap

Freshly built compost heap

The Basics

Very simply, a compost is basically organic matter that has been sufficiently decomposed to form a rich soil which can be used as a medium to grow plants. Besides the obvious benefit of enriching soil in an organic way, it also reduces the amount of waste that goes into landfills. It is not difficult to make your own compost, but it makes more sense to do it as a group because the efforts (waste collection, construction and turning of compost heap) and outcomes (the compost) can both be shared. For the first CETDEM Community Group, the compost heap built was 4 feet high to yield 8 sugar bags of compost that would be shared amongst the group members and the CETDEM Organic Farming Community Centre.

The Composition

The compost heap requires four main components to transform organic waste into good, healthy soil: Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen and water. These form the basic conditions for micro-organisms to break down the waste.

  • Carbon – Usually brown/green material. This is the food for the micro-organisms, and can include tree leaves, grass, weeds, crop stalks, etc.
  • Nitrogen – Usually protein. This is required for the micro-organisms to grow and multiply, and includes kitchen scraps, and also protein-rich materials like manure and soybean waste.
  • Oxygen – This is required to keep the micro-organisms alive and to ensure that the breaking down of organic waste is efficient. Therefore, the compost heap needs to be “turned” every two weeks to make sure that there is sufficient oxygen within the pile.
  • Water – The compost heap needs to have a suitable amount of water – not too much and not too little.

A rule of thumb is that the ratio of Nitrogen (‘wet’ material) to Carbon (‘dry material’) is 1:30 (between 20 to 30 is fine) in layering the compost heap.

The Process

The compost takes three months to make. It begins with waste collection, layering the waste into a compost heap, and then turning the compost heap every two weeks until completion. Most of the effort is in waste collection and building the compost on the first day, which was accomplished in a few hours by the group. They then need to meet every two weeks at the composting site to aerate the compost.

The CETDEM Community Composting Group is organised by CETDEM’s Organic Farming Coordinator, Mdm Tan Siew Luang, who has decades of experience in organic farming. Those interested to participate or organise a group themselves can contact her directly at of@cetdem.org.my.

on 16 Jun, 01:23

Community Composting Group

CETDEM is organising a Community Composting Group for those who are interested to participate in making a shared compost.

The group will have about 8 people. They will learn about the composting process and types of waste to collect, and work together to build a compost that will be shared amongst the group after it is complete.

This programme will begin early July. Interested individuals should email of@cetdem.org.my or call Ms Tan at 016 2195826. You can also approach us for questions at the information counter at the upcoming Hari Organik.

Below are the programme details of Hari Organik:
15th HO Flyer Final_2

on 3 Sep, 11:35

World Marketing Summit Malaysia 2013

CETDEM has been appointed an Official Reseller by World Marketing Summit Malaysia 2013. Through collaboration, CETDEM will received RM500 from the event organisers for every (RM2,000) WMSM2013 ticket sold via CETDEM’s introduction during the promotion period which is valid until 10 September only.

This basically means WSM2013 ticket buyers quoting CETDEM as the introducer will be assisting CETDEM with an indirect donation of RM500. Your support is much appreciated.

Note: This offer is valid till 10 September only.

Reg Form

on 31 May, 03:46

CETDEM Organic Farming Membership

CETDEM Organic Farming Membership

For those who are interested to be a part of CETDEM Organic Farming Initiatives, please fill up and submit this form.

There will be a Coffee Lovers Get-Together on 8 June 2013 (event to be posted up soon). We hope to attract more new members. The more, the merrier!

Form Page 1

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Form Page 2

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