New Straits Times


Extra costs incurred by farmers due to price surge passed on to consumers, says minister


THE spike in prices of fertiliser­s and pesticides used in farming has led to price hike of vegetables. Agricultur­e and Food Industry Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said the additional costs incurred by farmers due to the price surge would inevitably be borne by consumers.

“Some vegetables, such as onion, ginger and potatoes, have to be imported and the prices of these items, therefore, are dependent on global market prices,” he in a Facebook live session yesterday.

Ronald said the government would roll out an additional RM100 subsidy for pesticides per hectare per season to assist farmers with a financial implicatio­n of RM62 million.

Currently, he said, farmers were receiving a subsidy of RM200 for pesticides.

The government, he said, had also been providing fully subsidised fertiliser­s (except for

Type 4 Fertiliser­s) to farmers.

“The government has allocated RM200 million to provide agrofood loan at zero interest rate, in addition to a six-month loan repayment moratorium under Tekun Nasional and Agrobank for small and medium farmers.”

Agricultur­e director-general Datuk Zahimi Hassan, during the session, said the global prices of fertiliser­s and pesticides, which had been gradually increasing since the beginning of the year, surged in the third quarter of this year.

“The input price of some pesticides surged above RM300 while the input price of some commonly used fertiliser­s increased between RM30 and RM50.”

The ministry, he said, was exploring ways to boost domestic production of some vegetables to reduce reliance on food imports.

“Our local production for some vegetables is still very low. For example, our local production of chillies is only 36 per cent, while production of ginger stands at 18 per cent.

“Under the 12th Malaysia Plan, we are looking at increasing the local production of ginger from 18 to about 36 to 40 per cent since ginger can also be cultivated through fertigatio­n.”

Meanwhile, Federal Agricultur­al Marketing Authority (Fama) director-general Datuk Zainal Abidin Yang Razali urged farmers to market their produce through e-commerce platforms to eradicate middlemen in the supply chain.

“Fama will open more outlets for farmers to directly sell their produce such as through the MyBest Buy Programme and similar initiative­s.

“Farmers can register at the nearest Fama branch to participat­e in these programmes.”

 ?? PIC BY NIK ABDULLAH NIK OMAR ?? Traders selling vegetables at the Tunjong Rural Transforma­tion Centre in Kota Baru yesterday.
PIC BY NIK ABDULLAH NIK OMAR Traders selling vegetables at the Tunjong Rural Transforma­tion Centre in Kota Baru yesterday.

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