The following is the message by CAP President Mohideen Abdul Kader in the preface of the new CAP book, “Agroecology for All: Initiatives in Malaysia”:
AGROECOLOGY has been an intrinsic part of our lives ever since the human race started cultivating its own food. The term agroecology has been in use since the 1920s when scientists first applied ecological principles to agriculture, emphasising diversity and the effective use of resources in farming. Over the years, it has evolved into a holistic approach to agriculture, integrating science with the economy, social and ecological systems.
However, the main focus of the agricultural system of today is to supply large volumes of food to the global market. This has led to resource-intensive agriculture in consumer price index (CPI), increased by 3.4% in June 2022, led a 6.1% rise in food prices.
Agroecology can be used as an effective tool for addressing and reducing poverty and inequality. A significant shift toward sustainable food production and consumption habits is much needed, where everyone has access to healthy foods and farmers are able to adapt and become more resilient to the growing challenges brought on by climate change.
This book features CAP’s efforts toward inculcating good agroecological practices among Malaysians over the past decade. People from different backgrounds, age groups, and professions have tried their hand at adopting agroecological practices as part of their lives.
The stories of urban gardeners, with their interesting accounts of trial and error and the subsequent success in growing and harvesting their own food, are fine example for others to emulate, specifically the accomplishments of the women who have ensured that their family members are fed with what is grown in their own small garden.
Farmers who had shunned agrochemicals and bravely ventured into chemical-free farming generously shared their valuable ideas and methods for succeeding without chemicals. Their willingness to guide other farmers to tread similar paths is indeed a very important trait of agroecology. The plight of landless farmers and the role of the government are echoed as well.
The community garden efforts to raise awareness about the importance of keeping our planet toxic-free are admirable. Reaching out to the community members and engaging them in gardening and river-cleaning activities is indeed crucial at this point of time. It is my earnest hope that many more will choose to tread a similar path.
The indigenous communities of Sarawak have been retaining their age-old farming methods and are willing to adopt natural farming techniques introduced by CAP and SAM. Notwithstanding the encroachments of their ancestral lands and the lure of agrochemicals, their role is significant in advancing sustainability and biodiversity.
The differently abled centre that provides farming skills and training for its inmates is indeed a move in the right direction. It proves that agroecological concerns and healthy farming practices are not only the domain of the few but the differently abled too, should embrace this message and contribute their energy to learning and practising agriculture.
Students of all age groups and educational institutions have been CAP’s all-time target in imparting agroecological messages. Over the years, these students had progressed well by learning and imbibing the core values of understanding, respecting and nurturing nature. The myriad environmental activities run by those schools bear testimony to CAP’s commitment and success.
It is overwhelming to see that over the years, those students who participated in CAP’s programme carried the traits of transformation with them and emerged as champions who had worked on ways and strategies for reclaiming the rights to the seeds of rural farmers and helping the indigenous community whose land had been encroached upon.
Last but not least, CAP’s relentless move all these years towards creating awareness about food safety and sovereignty through countless agroecological programmes is laudable. CAP officials’ experiences, concerns, accomplishments and aspirations are aptly pointed out in this book.
It is my earnest hope that many more will choose agroecology as a path in their lives. Let us all work together to make this planet a more liveable place for our future generations.