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MAFI elevates the country’s food security despite difficult times

By on March 23, 2021 0

PUTRAJAYA: The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) has put in place various measures to ensure that the well-being of the population continues to be a priority as the country faces the challenges posed by the pandemic of Covid-19.

It has strengthened the agricultural sector and food industry to ensure that agriculture, fisheries and livestock products are not affected during this difficult time so that the food supply is always sufficient for all Malaysians. .

Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee

Its minister, Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee, said that the agri-food industry faces major challenges, especially in the early stages of the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO), where the proper functioning of the food chain has been disrupted, including the production, distribution and retailing of agricultural products.

“MAFI, with the cooperation of all parties involved, is ensuring that the situation is always under control. In this regard, we have ensured that the food supply of the population is adequate and stable, ”he told reporters during the“ Setahun Malaysia Prihatin ”Achievement Ceremony at MAFI Headquarters here.

Kiandee said MAFI has taken a variety of approaches, including dealing with supply shortages as well as dealing with overstock issues.

“Among them are the implementation of Controlled Fresh Markets (PST) in 196 selected locations and the implementation of online marketing (e-commerce) in strategic collaboration with Shopee, Lazada, MyGrocer, Ourshop / Ourfarm Airasia, Dropee and others.

“This is the greatest achievement for us at MAFI, it is to ensure the food security of the population throughout the implementation of the MCO. We are not yet immune to the threat of Covid-19, and I am confident that MAFI will continue to ensure food security for people in all situations, ”he said.

Major achievements

Regarding MAFI’s achievements over the past year, Kiandee said the ministry has taken seven milestones.

“Among other things, MAFI made the food security agenda a national agenda with the creation of the Cabinet Committee on National Food Security Policy (FSCC), chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“This committee is responsible for examining food security issues in a comprehensive and holistic manner. This is the first ministerial committee formed under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, ”he said.

Kiandee added that MAFI is also developing a nationwide rice field profiling system and rice field information management.

“Information on the soil profile for a total of 350,000 hectares of paddy plots will facilitate the preparation of new subsidized fertilizer formulations and allow online monitoring of the entire paddy and rice value chain”, did he declare.

Kiandee said that another achievement of MAFI was that it had improved the process of distributing certified rice seeds with new initiatives.

They include appointing the National Farmers Organization (NAFAS) as the sole wholesaler in the Certified Rice Seed Initiative program and setting the ceiling price for certified rice seed at RM 35 per bag.

“These initiatives can prevent the manipulation of certified rice seeds and prices in the field through uncontrolled purchases by various parties at the plant as well as avoid the dominance of a particular supplier in the legal seed market.” rice in particular, and paddy and rice. sector in general.

“This initiative benefits nearly 320,000 farmers on the peninsula,” he said.

Kiandee (second from left) is launching two new varieties of Tuesday rice, namely Seri Waja and Kembangsari, at the Rice Research and Innovation Center of Excellence in Seberang Prai, Penang on February 27.

Large-scale smart rice Agriculture in the foreground

Kiandee also said that to make the country’s paddy and rice industry more competitive throughout the industry value chain, MAFI has started implementing the large-scale Smart Paddy Field (Smart SBB ).

Smart SBB is a public and private collaboration between government and leading companies to develop a rice growing area of ​​150,000 hectares per season for the first phase in stages in Peninsular Malaysia.

“The implementation of Smart SBB will also help to restructure industry players more systematically, in particular by minimizing and eliminating the involvement of intermediaries who are perceived to create a gap between farmers and production and marketing. rice.

“This smart SBB will change the landscape of the country’s paddy and rice industry and help achieve the government’s goal of ensuring the country’s food security at all times,” he said.

A safer future for fishermen

Kiandee further explained that MAFI’s fourth achievement was linked to the implementation of the Social Security Organization Scheme (Socso) contribution program for fishermen, which is the social security scheme for self-employed workers for fishermen. fishermen, implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Resources.

He said a total of 42,000 fishermen benefit from the protection of Socso through the fishermen’s subsistence allowance.

The subsistence allowance for fishermen has also been increased from RM250 to RM300 per month, which will benefit more than 40,000 fishermen and the subsistence allowance of Nelayan Darat (interior fishermen) has increased from 200 RM to RM250 which will benefit 3,400 fishermen, ”he said.

Kebuniti to stimulate agriculture in communities

In order to help reduce the cost of living and ensure food security, especially for the B40 group in towns and suburbs, MAFI set up the Kebuniti program, which was well received by the population. Kiandee said the government has allocated more than RM30 million to implement this program.

In 2020, the Kebuniti program benefited more than 13,524 individuals and 632 communities. This initiative continued this year as part of the Kebuniti 2.0 program, he said.

Kiandee noted that even so, the accomplishments mentioned are just a few of MAFI’s major accomplishments.

“There are many more accomplishments we have throughout 2020, despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. All of MAFI’s achievements and successes throughout 2020 would not have been possible without the cooperation of the committed and dedicated staff of the ministry, department and agency, ”he said.

Kiandee expressed his confidence that with the continued support and commitment of all MAFI staff and industry players, he will be able to continue to defend the country’s agribusiness and food security as well as protect farmers, ranchers and fishermen as a whole.

Agrobank program benefits entrepreneurs in S’wak and Sabah

As of December 31, 2020, a total of 8,832 micro-entrepreneurs have received funding from Agrobank for a funding value of RM181.12 million under the Agrobank Microcredit Financing Scheme under the National Plan of economic recovery (Penjana).

Kiandee said that of this total 4,659 beneficiaries who received RM 104.19 million were from Sabah, while a total of 4,173 beneficiaries involving a funding value of RM 76.93 million were from Sarawak.

Among the projects financed are those of the Agromakanan Fund of Penjana; project to build a Swiftlet farm house in Beluran, Sabah; and in Sarawak, a tilapia contract farm in Tasik Batang Ai, Sri Aman; Rice field development program in Batang Lupar, Sri Aman and Sarawak micro-credit program as part of the State’s economic stimulation program.

Bounce back with government help

– Foo Ngee Kee
President of Sabah Small and Medium Enterprises

The microcredit finance system is a good initiative that helps local businesses, especially those that operate on a small scale.

The government funnels funds through BSN and Agrobank, in addition to TEKUN. These banks are user friendly and easy to deal with for funds, and they help increase business cash flow.

This is the best way for the government to disburse the funds.

I received the loan from the Microcredit Funding Facility and felt relieved during the Covid-19 pandemic. The loan helps my cash flow.

While not long term, but short term, it has helped us as businesses weather the storm. I thank the government for caring about the business community.

– Shihan Mohd Salim
Restauranteur and member of the Muslim Chambers of Commerce of Sabah

– Ajmal Khan Mohd Ansar
Restauranteur and assistant secretary of the Muslim Chamber of Commerce of Sabah

The microcredit program helped ease my burden during this pandemic. I have used it to pay my utility bills, increase my cash flow and my business capital. Thank you to the government for caring about businesses. It is really a good initiative for all companies. It has made us more resilient during this pandemic.

– Anita Mohamed
President of the Sabah Chamber of Commerce for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs should take advantage of the microcredit financing system because previously it was not easy to take out such loans.

Looking at the situation now, it is the banks that are looking for borrowers and many entrepreneurs are taking out loans thanks to the various aids offered by the government. The Sabah Entrepreneur Chambers of Commerce will disseminate information on financial aid, the moratorium and special low-interest loans to its members.

With the sharing of this information, members will be able to get more help from the government to use as capital to support their businesses.

– Datuk Dg Khatijah Datu Bachtiyal
Persatuan Industri Kecil dan Sederhana Wanita Sabah (IKSNITA) president and founder

The microcredit finance program is a good effort on the part of the government to help entrepreneurs maintain their businesses, especially now with the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Persatuan Industri Kecil dan Sederhana Wanita Sabah (IKSNITA) welcomes such assistance. Banks don’t have to worry about giving loans to women entrepreneurs because we always have a good repayment record on our loans. Many entrepreneurs will apply for the funding program as many of them have been affected by the pandemic. Therefore, the government should consider making it easier to apply for loans, for example by doing it online. In the digital age, it is easier to transact online.

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