Environmental News Archive

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Farmers: Give out incentives fairly

Saturday August 30, 2008
The Star

THE RM5.6bil provided under the National Food Security Policy for incentives to help agriculture entrepreneurs is good news to the Federation of Vegetable Sellers Associations.

However, its adviser Datuk Yeoh Chip Tong said in George Town yesterday that the incentives must be distributed fairly to all who genuinely deserve it regardless of race.

The incentives are meant to encourage higher agriculture output among agriculture entrepreneurs. More than 1,300ha of abandoned land has been identified for padi, fruits, vegetables and livestock.

About 350,000 vegetable and fruit growers, as well as aquaculture and livestock breeders, will benefit.

Yeoh said consumers would reap the most benefit with the introduction of such incentives.

With the incentives, Yeoh said he hoped to see more participation from various races in the sector as currently there are still segregated groups in the sector with the Chinese growing fruits and vegetables and the Malays growing padi.

On the RM1bil allocation which will assist 220,000 padi farmers, Yeoh said it was insufficient compared to other sectors which had secured a bigger slice in the 2009 Budget.

The move to abolish import duties on fertilisers and pesticides has met with mixed reaction from farmers in Cameron Highlands.

Federation of Malaysia Vegetable Growers Association secretary-general Chay Ee Mong said in Ipoh that any measure to reduce the operating cost of farmers was most welcome.

While the import duties for fertilisers and pesticides varied, Chay said farmers would be saving RM100 for every metric tonne of fertiliser costing RM2,000 if its import duty had been at 5%.

However, Cameron Highlands Flower Floriculture Association chairman Lee Peng Fo said that taking away the import duty translated to nothing.

“Instead, the Government should control the price of fertilisers and pesticides because importers are buying them cheap but selling to us dear,” he said.

Lee also said that farmers would have been happier if the Government had offered them help in the form of subsidies.

“In the last Budget, the Government had brought down our electricity charges. This time there is nothing for us.”