Tristan Toh

Tristan Toh

Agriculture is not static. It is a process that unfolds over time and interlaces with both the ecosystem it is based and the society it is located. Social, cultural, political, and economic forces can have enduring effects. To be truly sustainable and adaptable to changes, the field must be capable of continually evolving while preserving the human and natural resources that it draws from. In Malaysia, the entire food chain from producers down to consumers has come together to chart the future of agriculture here. These are the emerging developments to keep an eye on.

When French missionaries arrived on Vietnamese shores in the 17th century, they came bearing more than just trade and religion.

While most folks predicted some immediate changes following the transition of governments, none were prepared for the swift abolition of the Goods & Services tax. The much-maligned substitute for the Sales & Services Tax had come under fire since its introduction in April 2015 for purportedly instigating steep price hikes across the board.

John’s snapper and stingray are hawker favourites at many of Malaysia’s eateries. They are also ravaged by overfishing. Both are identified by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) as among the 90 percent of global fish stocks that have been exploited to full capacity or to the point of facing possible extinction. Left unabated, the trend points to seafood being permanently wiped off the menu by 2048. This is bad news for the country, where the oceans are a lucrative trade. Malaysia ranks as the largest consumer of marine products in Southeast Asia while the fisheries industry contributes more than RM11 billion to the economy and supports the livelihoods of over 150,000 people.

Among the many heirlooms of British colonial rule that can still be observed in Malaysian society, none persevered stronger than teatime. Born in the early 19th century when aristocratic Englishwomen needed a late-day refreshment to tide themselves over till dinner, the tradition of sipping a hot cuppa with a snack on the side has been enduringly sewn into the local fabric.

The food industry has always been, by nature, at the mercy of market forces beyond its control. Dependent on the changing tastes and preferences of the consumer, players across all sectors must be quick to pick up on emerging trends and adapt accordingly or risk falling by the wayside.

No two patissiers are alike. Each carries an individual baggage of style, techniques, and ideas that is reflected in their creations. While pastry chefs may not share a tonne in common artistically, they can all agree on one thing. When it comes to ingredients, accept no substitutes.

Frozen products comprise one of the largest sectors of the food industry and its value is going in no other direction but upwards. According to a study by Grand View Research, the international market size exceeded USD250 billion in 2015, with Asia Pacific coming on top as the region to undergo a record compound annual growth rate of 5% over the next eight years.

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