Current systems are outstripping the resources of the planet while current diets are resulting in global health crises of both over- and under-nutrition.
Our future depends on an urgent reset, to create systems that support healthy people and a healthy planet.
Malaysia’s agricultural sector is divided into two sub-sectors: commodity and food. In general, commodity crops, such as palm oil, have grown rapidly and have contributed significantly to national development. Malaysia, the world’s second biggest palm oil producer, has set a cap of 6.5 million hectares on the area under palm oil cultivation. In 2019, the total area planted with oil palm in Malaysia was about 5.9 million hectares. Malaysian palm oil producers must use technology to improve yield and compensate for restrictions on land use, as the industry wrestles with concerns about sustainability. It is crucial to gear agricultural practices towards greater sustainability while conserving forests throughout the supply-chain. Companies can be drivers of change to develop solutions for sustainably-sourced agricultural products from within the value chain
According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS), the prevalence of stunting in children under five years of age in Malaysia has increased from 17.2% (2006) to 20.7% (2016). The effect of stunting is largely irreversible after the age of two years; thus, parents have to ensure that their children receive healthy and sufficient nutrition.
Overweight and obesity in Malaysia is an issue of growing concern and one that is frequently debated. Malaysia is now the fattest nation in Asia and has the second highest child obesity rate among children in ASEAN aged 5 to 19 years. The economic cost to Malaysia is huge. In 2017, overweight and obesity accounted for 13.3% of total health costs, and this does not include the indirect costs of lost labour productivity due to absenteeism or medical leave.
Malaysia’s water resources are rapidly depleting and have been managed unsustainably. Some of the main issues include: the lack of a central agency to manage the overall aspects of water resources management; rates of water wastage in domestic, industrial and agricultural use are very high and this is unsustainable in the long term; globally and locally, the climate and weather are changing and this is affecting water resources; rates of non-revenue-water in Malaysia are much too high; most legislation relating to water is outdated and needs to be reviewed in today’s context; water pollution is a serious problem in Malaysia and impacts negatively on the sustainability of water resources; inefficient agricultural water use.
Moving forward, consumers could also play a role by exercising their purchasing power which could collectively form a strong voice to demand more sustainable products to be made available on the shelves.
BCSD Malaysia, through its Food & Nature Working Group, offers as a safe pre-competitive space in which the leading companies can gather and initiate collaborative projects and advocate for progressive policies to the government of Malaysia and other relevant regulatory bodies.
If you wish to know more about the activities of the Food & Nature Working Group or if you wish to join BCSD Malaysia please contact us.