A farmer spraying pesticide at a farm in Kuala Terla.

KUALA LUMPUR: Poor agricultural practices are among the reasons for river pollution, said the Cameron Highlands Flower Growers Association.

Its vice-president, Wong Seng Yee, said the matter was made worse by the fact that agriculture was a dominant component of the local economy in the tourist and agricultural spot.

He noted that sustainable agriculture was one of the greatest challenges for the farming community due to their unwillingness to invest.

The use of technologies for sustainable farming systems was a challenging and dynamic issue for farmers, he said.

For example, many farmers operate on Temporary Occupation Licence (TOL), which has to be renewed yearly.

TOL for farm lands was a long-standing issue in Cameron Highlands and because of the fear that they might lose their land, farmers were disinclined to upgrade their farming practices, Wong said.

However, he pointed out that the development projects in Cameron Highlands were also polluting the rivers by causing surface run-off, which led to soil erosion.

“But, nevertheless, farmers should shoulder some of the responsibilities. Farmers can play a role in minimising the adverse effects of agricultural chemicals by using integrated pest management.”

He said things were looking up, but it would take time for drastic improvements to take place.

Citing an example, he said the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry had been promoting the Malaysia Good Agricultural Practice (MyGAP), a resource management system in agricultural production that is sustainable and follows good practices.

The system is expected to increase agricultural productivity of quality and safe food, taking into account the welfare, safety and health of workers and conservation of the environment.

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