How to beat higher food prices

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Have you been to the market recently and scratched your heads at the rising prices of vegetables and fruit. What do you do?

Vegetable and fruit prices have almost doubled over the last six months or so. And there is nothing to suggest that it won’t rise even further.

At one time, we had quite a few vegetable farms in Penang. Now most of our vegetables and fruit have to be brought in from Camerons, Australia, China and the United States.

This is not an ideal situation on three counts:

  • Transporting food from great distances increases the carbon foot-print of these items.
  • We become more dependent on external sources for our food, i.e. we move away from self-sufficiency and food security. What happens when these places don’t have enough to supply us? Prices will rocket, as we are gradually finding out now.
  • We get hooked on the pesticide/chemical model of agrobusiness. By right each state in Malaysia should be looking into what it can do to promote self-sufficiency in organic food. Perhaps we could become a hub for organic food in the region.

Now along comes an initiative to show what ordinary people like you and me can do.

Yes, ever thought of trying to grow some of your own food – naturally?

No garden? How about your apartment balcony or corridor or any unused space, even indoors?

For more information, check out the FoodGardens blog.

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Bakari

The valuation of the Ringgit should be higher then the cost of imports will be lower and for the same amount of money we can buy more goods. Let us make the benefits available to more people than a selected few. Let them go figure out how to remain competitive in the world market.

Econut'ish

Ok, i will try the closet too!:)

Econut'ish

Hey guys, I have no problems with Tau Foo of yesteryears, hmm… so delicious too! My grandmother from China ate Tau Foo every day and lived to 101.

It is the modern day soya bean that bugs me.

The short story is that the genes in GM soya bean have gone crazy. Because the DNAs have been destablised, they are unstable and are jumping all over. Which means — they continue to contaminate even the organically grown ones. And because international conventions do not have the will to legislate labelling, hey brother, guess what are we eating? Or planting?

Iron

Not all soya beans are the same. There are still some non-GM soya beans available, mainly from farmers who do not want to have any part on the GM food chain. Ask around. Regarding Tofu, there is an excellent book on Tofu, and it is on Google Book — http://books.google.com.au/books?id=k7yx0OYDWFEC&dq=The+Book+of+Tofu+William+Shurtleff+Akiko+Aoyagi&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=lVGcS8a4DoO8rAeNvZGAAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CB0Q6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=&f=false As I am a chemist myself, I play around with the ingredients. Instead of the ordinary Calcium Carbonate, I mix / substitute it with Potassium and/or Magnesium. Every step of the way I check and re-check the toxicity (use google often) of the ingredients, and the different chemicals play wonders… Read more »

wandererAUS

Econut’ish

Yes if you found space to grow your soya beans…that’s great!
To make Tau Foo you need only One Sq Metre area. It does not matter whichever way you chose, the idea is correct…Healthy and Cheap!

Note: The Chinese in China have been eating Tau Foo for thousand of years, the population is still growing…no one died of food poisoning eating this Chinese beef!!!

Iron

Hehe… the space you need to grow beansproud is less than 2 Sq meter. And some more, you can do it inside a closet.

I mean, how much beansproud can you eat?:)

Econut'ish

Wah… Iron, looks like you win the Econut title la!

Econut'ish

Hey wandererAus, isn’t Tau Foo made of GMO soya bean and some chemical coagulants? I think you are better off doing some food gardening no? 🙂

Iron

Since you are “Econut’ish” why don’t you make your own tofu?

Not hard at all, you know?

Oh yeah, organic non-GMO soya bean are available, you know?

BTW, other than tofu, you can make soy milk, and beansprouts too. 🙂

wandererAUS

The White Westerners have beef, the Japanese have fish for their protein…these foods are too expensive to put on the table.
Try the Chinese way, the simple “Tau Foo” cheap and good!!!
So folks no need to go for fancy and expensive foods….
Anil, this is what I was trying to advise you…hehe

Worm

Talking about buses, they like to leave the engines on to keep the aircon running – even under cover! For a bit of comfort we poison our lungs.

Ganesh

No point talking about Carbon footprint when you see some public buses, stage buses emitting thick black smoke. Come to KL and you can see some buses emit thick black smoke that even the buses themselves become black in colour and when you drive behind the vehicle, your visibility diminishes. Hundreds of people can plant their own food but it takes just one bus to undo all the good done. And who owns some of these bus companies? Yes, cronies. And nobody can touch them. They don’t bother to service their vehicles regularly and emit hazardous smoke. To make matters… Read more »

Iron

Anil, see why I say normal human being don’t care about ‘carbon footprint’ ?

The guy above don’t even understand the real meaning of ‘carbon footprint’.

Black smoke ain’t carbon footprint. It is soot. Of course soot is annoying, but ain’t included in the ‘carbon footprint’ calculation.

Hey, don’t you include me in the eco-nut category, Anil! 🙂

Iron

My dear Anil, Why are you always make easy things into something so complicated? Why mix in all the unnecessary jargons? Who the heck care about ‘carbon footprint’ when talk about food? I mean, other than you, Anil Netto and some other eco-nuts, normal human beings don’t care about ‘carbon footprint’ at all. So … here is my list of what you can do to cut down on food price while keeping fit: 1. Eat less 2. Eat healthy 3. Cook the food yourself 4. Exercise and exercise a lot 5. Quit smoking and drinking 6. Go to sleep early… Read more »

KM

Income disparity in Malaysia is extremely high (I strongly believe), that is why the lower income group suffers where the rich is not even feeling the pinch. With GST, the lower income group would even drown to stay ‘afloat’.

Maz

Having lived in London for a few years, I agree with Ganesh.

At the same time, I also believe that little things that we do collectively can make a big difference. So instead of just whining about how expensive food is, let’s grow vegetables for our own consumption.

I live in an apartment and have started growing vegetables on my balcony recently.

Sewel

Always keep your diet simple. If you look at the olden days we Malaysians used to eat simple food such as tapoica, rice, sayur, ikan billis. On the weekends we used to spoil ourselves with some chicken or tenggiri fish etc.

Nowadays if you look at the shopping basket of consumers you see all kinds of expensive food items which are not necessary and also not good for our cardiac system.

Those days it was rare to see a fat Malaysian. Nowadays every second Malaysian is overweight.

So lets cut costs by cutting our weight first!

Oxymoron

No, roti kosong and air suam is your best choice! Soon we’ll reach the Indonesian standard of half an egg or one ikan bilis per day. 🙂

By the way, easiest fruit to grow in Msia is the papaya. Most of the time it grows by itself! Even next to the dirtiest drains! 🙂

Jerry

IMO, Ganesh is partially right. However, growing your own food is definitely a boon to health & a little savings e.g. save on petrol driving to the shop & save on buying pesticide veggies. In the front of my single story terrace house in a 2×2 metres square area I grew organic veggies – okra, chillies, white bayam, bitter gourd, cucumbers, serai, curry leaves, lettuce & some herbs like misai kuching, karpuravalli, thulasi(Holy basil), etc. Let me tell you, plants like okra, chillies and serai are VERY easy to grow. You can grow them in pots. The herbs are also… Read more »

Motorist

What is GerakanK spewing now. Makan Maggi mee? Contribute $$ to Parti Gerakan???? See what happens when you eat Maggi everyday. In London, you can buy a big loaf of bread for less than £1. What can you get for RM1 nowadays? The father of corruption had grandeur dreams of concrete, steel & glass sky scrappers & factories. He saw Paris, London, NY, Tokyo & was jealous. Did he go out of these big cities to see the agriculture industry? Did he bother to learn that these developed countries actually try to be self sustaining in food production? Noooo… all… Read more »

Gerakan K

1) study hard during school time (to obtain degree or at least possess excellent language skill)

2) get a good pay job

3) you are then SUITABLE to involve in politics by joining whatever party or make donation to that party you supported

If the young one neglect his study during school time and wasted his valuable time in political activities such as demos, it is yourself to blame.

Don’t add yourself to the list of unemployed ones just because you are active in political activities.

Yang

Do ou know how many degree and PHD holders are jobless. One PHD has to rear quail eggs and another degree holder has to farm chilli. Get quality degree and education not half baked one.

LBJ

This is enslavement of the population. Make the goods expensive enough and we need to borrow from the credit company to live. And viola, we are in the crutch of the banks. The banks and govt in cahoots are the new slave masters.

If I am a politician, which I am not, I would exploit this link. I would pull the credit of anyone who would not vote for me.

wandererAUS

Gerakan K

You better not go on diet..you need to nourish your brain a bit more…very lacking in grey matter!

Gerakan K

Highly educated doctor/engineer/programmer/accountant never complain of high food price, but the cost of latest BMW and golf equipments.

O

Bro good news, the prices of cars are reportedly going to be slashed, their duties being slashed from the current 200% to 40%! That means a Camry 2.4 which costs 174,000 now will cost approximately 70,000, but the catch? Price of fuel (could be increased) two folds. … I cannot confirm whether this is true, but, I read it somewhere… See whether the protests by NGOs will be heeded by your PM! I will now hold on to my purchase, thought of a Sylphy, but now if the real price of vehicles really come down, then a Merc is my… Read more »

wandererAUS

“Everyone goes on a Diet Menu…”
Good for the body and good for health…Nil you should give it a try!

SamG

Ganesh is right here. Our standard of living is dropping year after year. The Government has weaved a complex web to artificially keep cost of living down by having certain controlled items. That really does not help as it gives a false indication on our actual inflation. If inflation is benchmarked by using low cost house prices, controlled prices of sugar, flour etc etc etc, we have the perfectly low inflation. Toll rates are allowed to rise, but the Government comes down heavily on a 5 sen rise for roti canai and teh tarik by Mamak shops. The cycle begins.… Read more »

blackrose

Ganesh,I am with you,the cost of living kept rocket up without a full stop.Billions of rm spent on developments,are we indeed being included in this spending?.Gerakan K said maggi is the best choice,try feed that everyday to your children after sometime come and story us.

Gerakan K

Maggi is your best choice. After all why not study hard during schooling days. Take this as lesson for the young one. Go study and forget demo. Got money then contributed to the party supported by you.

Ganesh

Anil, no point finding short term solutions to such problems. Go to the root of the problem. And what is that? It is our low pay. Our income and remuneration is NOT in proportion to the cost of living in Malaysia. I have lived overseas and I can tell you, it is far cheaper to live in London than to live in Kuala Lumpur or other Malaysian states. At least in London, your pay is proportionate to the cost of living in the UK. You earn say 2000 pounds. But with a mere 30 pounds, you can buy loads of… Read more »