I stumbled upon this news item "New Corn Hybrid for Kota Marudu" from one of a very popular newspaper by the name Daily Express dated 17th November 2009 (page 7). It is nice to know that the government has put some efforts to revive our dying food-base agriculture in Malaysia particularly in Kota Marudu and Kudat.
This hybrid corn is originally from Taiwan called "Summer Sweet". The trial plot for this particular hybrid corn variety was conducted by All Cosmos Industries Sdn. Bhd and was reported successful at their one-acre trail plot located at their Training Centre in Damai, Kota Kinabalu. It was harvested last week.
At the launched of the harvest, Science, Technology and Innovation, Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Maximus Ongkili witnessed the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the district Agriculture Department Assistant Director, Mr. John Gumpil and All Cosmos Industries Sdn. Bhd for the transfer of technology.
Dr. Maximus will lauch the new corn variety, which he named as Jagung 1Kota Marudu. I think it is already launched yesterday (Sunday - 22nd November 2009) . It seems everything will be named with (1) now. I shall named myself as 1sunduvan then. Haha
Now let us look at few charactaristics of hybrid corn. I will list them down here so you may decide whether or not the introduction of hybrid corn is a good thing for our farmers in Kota Marudu and Kudat.
1. Corn Hybrid need lots of input. One of them as mentioned in this news report is Bio-Fertilizer. It also needs some other types of fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and many more. I do not know whether or not our farmers can afford to buy those required inputs for corn hybrid. Buying those inputs every year can be considered as fix cost to farmers as they will need the same amount or probably more every planting season. They will have to pay for this cost every year regardless if the price of corn in the market is going up or going down. And who is the supplier of that so called Bio-Fertilizer? Somebody is making huge money here from our poor farmers. Anyway, making huge money is not wrong, so please do not get me wrong.
2. Corn Hybrid is a variety that you cannot keep the seeds for the next planting season. If you do, it will not going to give you the same yeild (harvest) or can be very low. This is the most important characteristics of hybrid. This is how seeds company in the world like Bayers or Monsanto make huge profits every year. Selling seeds to farmers. Farmers will have to buy the hybrid corn seeds from All Cosmos Sdn. Bhd every year and this will cost lot of money to our farmers in Kota Marudu and Kudat. I think it is much better for farmers to continue planting our traditional corn variety in which they have the freedom to keep the seeds for the next planting season. After all our traditional corn is just as delicious as those of corn hybrid. According to research, traditional corn variety posses higher adaptability to climate change. Let talk about climate change next time.
3. Legal matter. In Canada many farmers were brought to the court by seeds company for mistakenly(without realising) planted hybrid seeds that patented or licenced to certain seeds company. Many farmers were declared bankrupt. Are we ready to see that happen to our farmers in Kota Marudu and Kudat?
4. It is not evironmental friendly. The utilization of huge amount of inputs especially those chemicals pesticides are harmful to our environment.
Emm..I think the four hybrid corn characteristics above is enough for you to think about. It is your choice whether to plant hybrid corn or not. Nobody is going to stop you. Next time I will make a blog post about hybrid rice in Malaysia and Genetically Engineered (GE) corn. I am lazy to write that is why I prefer to write short blog post everytime. Stay tune with me.