Addressing The Issue Of Rising Fertiliser Prices

Dr. Ronald Kiandee

The topic may be trivial for the common man on the street but the issue of rising fertiliser and pesticides prices will effect all Malaysians eventually. How you may ask? As the cost to operate and manage farms and plantation go up (fertisilers and pesticides take up more that 50% of farming costs), farmers will pass on the cost to the goods they produce, in this case the food we all will consume-fruits, vegetable and grains.

So, when the issue becomes critical it will be a national concern, this will directly impact food security as the country is still reeling from border closures and need quick intervention before it escalates to severe case of overpricing of daily necessities. Luckily, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry and the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs have been alert on the matter and are looking to keep a lid from this possibibility happening. Both Ministries have established a Joint Committee to find ways to curb the rise of fertiliser costs and other measures to assist farmers who are faced with the issue.

Various other Ministries and agencies are also roped in to handle the matter as the this will involve import policies, manufacturing, taxation and incentive programs. With most of the fertilisers and pesticides used by farmers are produced from raw materials imported from foreign countries such as elemental nitrogen, phosphate (phosphate) and potassium (potassium), the Trade Ministry (MITI) is also taking strong interest to find solutions for the impending problem.

Some of the key causes for the hike has been identified to multiple factors, including change of policy from some of the countries exporting these chemicals, an increase in the cost of materials crude, logistical disruptions as well as market speculation. Supply of fertilisers and pesticides declined in the market due to high demand, this led to price increase along the supply chain.

Several proposed solutions have been identified and raised by MAFI and KPDNHEP jointly in the Cabinet Meeting so that this issue can be addressed comprehensively and holistically in addition helping the affected. The outcome will be shared to the effected parties once the suggestions have been tabled and approved.

However, its good that Ministries are all working together in resolving the issue as this concerns food security for the nation.

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