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Friday, October 2, 2009


Idle land at Mk Air hitam, Muar (Deep Peat)

IDLE LAND (or 'Tanah Terbiar' in Malay) in Malaysia define as any agricultural land belongs to farmers/owners not utilised for three (3) continuous years or six (6) seasons for paddy area. Under utilized land is not considered as idle land. It was estimated about 11,000 hectares of idle land reported in 2008 respectively. Most idle land located on problem soil such as Bris Soil, Peat Soil and remote area which lack of basic infrastructures Bris soil alone estimated about 2,400 hectare alongside coastal area such as in Terengganu, Pahang and Johore idle due to poor soil quality and marginal for many crops. Only tobacco, cash crops, coconuts (Traditional Variety) and Gajus are rarely planted on Bris Soil. Bris soil poor of organic matter and loss water holding capacity. Peat soil are costly to develop due to poor soil structure and high cost on farm road, bridges, drain and land preparation. Development cost for peat area cost 25 to 35 % more from ordinary idle land. This article in "Anim Agro Technology" present about development of idle land in Johore State as part of the process to provide more foods in Malaysia.

New Farm Road and Proper drainage from DOA Muar, Johore.

Factors contribute to idle land are as follows:
a. Small size and uneconomic for crop development and scattered :

b. Lack of farmers interest (Town Area)
c. No access road and basic facilities
d. Problem Soil quality (Bris Soil/Peat soil)
e. High initial cost development (More RM 20,000/ha)
f. Difficult to verify the land owner
g. Limited /government assistant/subsidy/rehabilitation program

Harvesting of Josapine Pineapple from Idle land project at Muar District, Johore.

From 2007 to 2009 about 136 hectare of idle land in Muar District has been developed especially on peat soil planted with pineapple, shore-term crop (Yam, Tapioca, Vegetables etc). Department of Agriculture provide extension services and infrastructure development and initial farm inputs (Seedling, Chemicals and Fertilizer). Pineapple project at Bt 14, Mukim Air Hitam Muar produced about 180,000 pieces of pineapple (JOSAPINE Variety) in 2008 considered as successful project. Most of the pineapple harvested are Grade A and Double A and mostly marketed to Kuala Lumpur and Klang Valley. Each farmers earn about RM 1,500 to RM 2,500 per month from this project.

Mohd Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Depertment of Agriculture,
Muar, Johore,
(Updated on 16 January 2015)

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