Food Production vs Economic Warfare

Food Production vs Economic Warfare

Source: Mitsui website

The current big issue of economic warfare that involves tariffs and trade wars between the economic superpowers in the world shows that the next war will be fought with bonds and not bombs. The strategy of increasing the import tariff will weaken the other country’s economy thus reduce its political and military power in order to win the war. In Malaysia’s context, despite the abundance of fertile land, we have been importing many of the foods and grain from other countries. For example, we have been importing almost 100% of grain corn which is used to produce livestock’ feed. Realizing that hunger has been used as a weapon of war, imagine what would happen to Malaysia if the import tariff of the grain corn increased? The whole food chain will be affected and the eventually the price of cattle, meat and poultries shall increase exorbitantly as the price is influenced by the currency.

The impact of economic warfare can be reduced by increasing the production of local produce and enhance the process efficiency. To increase the efficiency of crops production, one of the most recommended farming practices is the integrated farming (IF). It is a management system which deliver more sustainable agriculture that integrate livestock and crop production. Compared to conventional cropping system which leads to poor ecological diversity, soil erosion and loss of soil fertility, IF is proven to significantly reduce economic losses and ecological problems.

Grain corn is a corn type which is planted to be processed to produce food such as corn oil, syrups and most importantly, livestock’s feed. Globally, grain corn caters for about 42% production which is the highest percentage compared to other types of grain (rice, oats, cereal, rye etc.). At current, about 80 to 90% of grain corn consumed in Malaysia is being imported from Argentina and the United States. Even now, our country neighbors such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Philippine have started to plant grain corn as their primary grain crops or as integrated crops.

In Malaysia, the vast availability of fertile land should be used to produce this highly productive and versatile crop. One of the reasons is due to its incredibly high yields compared to other grain crops. In developed countries such as the United States, the grain corn application as a source of energy (ethanol production) has been increasing ever since its introduction. As animal feed, it helps to fatten our chickens, cattle and hogs. The starch can also be used to make bio-based plastics for to protect our environment from increasing demand for single used plastic packaging which tend to end up in the ocean and imposed risk to the marine life.

It’s time for Malaysia to focus in ensuring the sustainability of food production by growing more grain corn/maize!