To increase the portion of food supplied locally, the government needs to empower farmers and the relevant stakeholders, incentivising the private sector in urban farming and providing other support through facilitating, brokering and investing.
By Amanda Yeo
The Sun Daily
19 Apr 2021
EVEN as many ordinary Malaysians struggle to make ends meet arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, empty shop lots continue to mount along the streets and some even display signs that say “available for rent”.
With the growing importance of food self-sufficiency, now is the time for Malaysia to turn empty spaces into urban farms – tackling food security-related issues besides making good use of the existing sites.
Urban farming is the practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food in or around urban areas.
Although Malaysia is rich in natural resources, we are highly dependent on high-value imported foods. Presently, our self-sufficiency level for fruits, vegetables and meat products stands at 78.4%, 44.6% and 22.9%, respectively.
With a lower occupancy rate in both retail and office spaces, property developers probably could redevelop the buildings for another usage – urban or vertical farming as done in Singapore with tremendous success.
According to the National Property Information Centre, the occupancy rate for shopping malls in Malaysia has dropped consecutively for five years. It declined from 79.2% in 2019 to 77.5% in 2020, the lowest level since 2003.
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