Govt to introduce mechanisms to establish inclusive, holistic food security ecosystem

Malaysia is set to put in place new mechanisms to ensure there is an inclusive and holistic food security ecosystem in the country.

This includes introducing ceiling prices of goods based on market fluctuation, and expanding the size of land for agricultural purposes.

The government also aims to expand the agro-food ecosystem by having government-linked companies, government-linked investment companies and government agencies handle the supply chain in the agro-food ecosystem.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said this will ensure that the quality and quantity of food production are at an optimum level.

“The supply and price of chicken can be controlled if government agencies are involved in the livestock breeding industry ecosystem, starting from the supply of chicks, animal feed, transportation, marketing, and others,” he said.

“More will be done to increase the cooperation between the Federal and state governments to increase and expand the size of land for agricultural purposes. Further deliberation will be made during meetings with menteris besar and chief ministers, soon,” he said, after chairing the Economic Action Council meeting today.

The meeting today was attended by industry stakeholders as well as Khazanah Research Institute and Malaysia Productivity Corporation.

The prime minister added that cooperation between the public and private sectors will also be strengthened to modernise and encourage the use of smart agriculture systems, to increase food yield.

“This initiative will be done by amalgamating agricultural land, abandoned land, and waqf land (tanah wakaf).”

He said the government will ensure there is a market for agricultural produce. This includes encouraging the setting up of ‘contract farms’, where farmers will have no problems matching agriculture yield with market demands.

Last week, veteran economist Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam told Twentytwo13 that radical changes, including forward open market policies, must be introduced as Malaysia’s food inflation has put it in a state of “crisis”.

Navaratnam said the shortage of land for vegetable cultivation, licencing, and land alienation for farming were among the long-standing issues that have not been resolved.

He suggested the government ask fishermen and farmers about their problems.

“If fertiliser, transport, and even marketing is a problem, then the government must be clear and tell the people how they plan to resolve these problems,” he was quoted saying.

Navaratnam had also called for broader consultations, including getting experts within the government and having open discussions with all stakeholders was necessary to ensure that any solution to address the rising cost of goods is done holistically.