JOHOR has huge potential to become a leading producer of vegetables if more land is allocated for its cultivation.
The Federation of Malaysian Vegetable Farmers' Association president Tan So Tiok said the state had plenty of fertile and flat land which was suitable for vegetable cultivation.
He said the federation had applied to Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman and the state Agriculture Department for more land to grow vegetables 10 years ago.
He said there were about 30,000 vegetable farmers in Bukit Gambir, Kluang, Macap, Simpang Renggam, Kulai and other areas but they were not producing enough vegetables to meet local consumption.
Tan said, if more land was allocated, Johor had the potential to become a vegetable exporter.
"Vegetable farmers are supportive of the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's call to increase food production.
"This will provide enough vegetables for local consumption and export and cut down on imports," he said at his farm in Jalan Sengkang, Bukit Gambir, Ledang.
Tan said it was difficult for vegetable growers to use modern farm technology because the amount of land that was available for cultivation was limited.
Muar North Vegetable Farmers' Association president Lau Ah Ming said the association had also applied to the state government and the state Agriculture Department for more land to grow vegetable 10 years ago.
He said the association had complied with requests for reports and information to support the application.
He added that the association, would continue to appeal for more land.
"We view the shortage of land to grow vegetables seriously as we aim to make Johor self-sufficient in vegetable production for home consumption and export ," Lau said.
SOURCE: NST JOHOR STREETS, NOVEMBER 24, 2009