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Passing on Responsibilities


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Role of consumers in "ethical" vegetable production in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Las Vegas 2009.

Role of consumers in "ethical" vegetable production in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Las Vegas 2009.

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  • Part of masters dissertation on singapore’s foodprint and how our laws and market influences the production A lot of case studies are about existing projects but mine tries to find out why there is (or not) ethical production And what are the loopholes
  • Transcript

    • 1. Passing on Responsibilities: Role of Consumers in “Ethical” Vegetable Production in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia November Peng Ting TAN M.A. Candidate, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore
    • 2.
      • Objectives
      • To examine the impact of transnational regulations and consumption on “ethical” vegetable production in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
      Slide 1
    • 3. Cameron Highlands
      • Key Markets
      • Kuala Lumpur
      • Johor Bahru
      • Singapore
      • Ipoh
      • Penang
      • Other Export Markets
      • Thailand
      • Taiwan
      • Japan
      1 2 3 4 5 Slide 2
    • 4. Slide 3
    • 5.
      • Potential “Ethical” Food Production Concerns on Cameron Highlands
      • Land Clearing and Soil Erosion
      • Deforestation and Biodiversity Loss
      • Water Contamination
      • Pesticides and Food Safety
      • Migrant Labour
      • Fair Trade
      Slide 4
    • 6.
      • 40 interviewees were asked to rank (in order of influence, 1-Most Influential; 4-Least Influential) the following have on changing their business and farming practices towards a more “ethical” one.
        • Malaysia Market
        • Malaysia Law
        • Singapore Market
        • Singapore Law
      Slide 5 Methodology Respondents were asked, given a scenario where if there was a push for “ethical food” by any of the 4, 1) which change would affect them 2) which one would they most likely r espond to; and this was to be ranked in order of the factor that they would respond to first.
    • 7. Methodology 100% Technology Intensive, High Capital Farms Mostly Singapore export-oriented Slide 6
    • 8. Results Slide 10
    • 9. Malaysia Market ranked #1 Results Most producers were still primarily concerned with domestic market and law Slide 12
    • 10. Slide 7
    • 11. Slide 8
    • 12. Slide 9
    • 13. Singapore Law ranked #1 Results Collectors / exporters who deal with Singapore Law on a daily basis as their key business are more aware of the regulations. Potential for ethical sourcing and trading Slide 11 2 3 4 1 MS C S 3 2 4 1 SM C S 3 2 4 1 SM C M 3 4 2 1 S H L 4 3 2 1 S C M 4 3 2 1 S S S M Law M Mkt S Mkt S Law Ranking Market Farming Method Size
    • 14. Does Consumer Power Exist?
      • YES!
      • Singapore consumer demand for safety and quality
      • Results in strict transnational regulations which does affect production
      Discussion Slide 13
    • 15. Does Consumer Power Exist?
      • NO!
      • Market factor weakens “ethical” system
      • Consumer maturity is lacking
      • Absence of consumer or civil society action / pressure
      Discussion Slide 14
    • 16.
      • “ If I could turn back time, I would rather not take the high road [and not be an organic farmer]. Instead, it would have been easier if I could use some chemical pesticides while practicing organic soil fertility management”
      • - Mr S, organic farming pioneer on Cameron Highlands
      Slide 15
    • 17. Conclusion
      • Law is interpreted differently at different scales
      • There must always be business incentives.
      • Consumer maturity and civil society action is a necessary ingredient.
      Slide 16