Environmental News Archive

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Battling food crisis

Saturday August 30, 2008
The Star

THE Government’s concern over the state of the national food security is reflected by the generous allocation of RM5.6bil for the National Food Security Policy from 2008 to 2010.

Since early this year, securing adequate food supply topped the agenda of most developing countries, especially for rice, the staple food amid the global food crisis.

Over the past five years, Malaysia’s food import bill jumped 80% to RM23bil in 2007.

Of the total food security allocation, RM1bil would be channelled to increase padi production in the country.

Some 220,000 padi farmers nationwide are poised to receive incentives to enable them to efficiently boost their crop.

The Government is also allocating RM475mil in the form of agricultural input, fertilisers and pesticides to assist padi farmers.

A proposal has also been made to abolish import duty on fertilisers and pesticides.

“The abolishment will help farmers counter high fertiliser costs, which had gone up by more than 40% this year,” an industry players told StarBiz.

To date, over 1,300ha of abandoned land have been identified for padi and other food production such as fruits, vegetable and livestock.

Incentives would also be given to agriculture entrepreneurs to reduce production costs and encourage higher agriculture output.

Some 350,000 vegetable and fruit growers, as well as aquaculture and livestock breeders stand to benefit from these incentives.

To increase fish landings, the Government has allocated RM300mil, of which RM180mil is for the cost of living allowance to fishermen and fishing boat owners, and RM120mil in the form of incentives.

Under Budget 2009, poultry players like Leong Hup Holdings Bhd, Farm’s Best Bhd and CAB Cakaran Corp Bhd will also stand to benefit from the proposed reinvestment allowance of 60% for 15 years for the expansion of chicken and duck farms.

This is to encourage consistent supply of poultry for the domestic market amid strong demand.