The Malaysian government has taken a serious stance by declaring an all-out war on against middlemen and cartels responsible for the rise in the prices of essential goods – said to be the underlying cause of inflation across the nation.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who issued the warning at the launch of the Malaysia Agriculture, Horticulture and Agrotourism Exposition (MAHA) 2022 in Serdang today said: “The government is in the process of addressing manipulation by ‘middle persons’ and ‘cartels’ in the agriculture sector as well as the food supply chain, who are responsible for the increase in the prices of goods and the inflation.
“In fact, the Malaysia Competitive Commission (MyCC) on Friday issued its proposed verdicts against five chicken feed millers suspected of being accomplices in raising the price of poultry feed.
“This should serve as a warning against cartels trying to manipulate prices and the market,” said Ismail Sabri in his speech at the event, which coincided with the Farmers, Livestock Breeders and Fishermen’s Day.
Ismail Sabri added under the National Food Security Policy Action Plan 2021-2025 –which addresses food security issues and the challenges the nation is facing — the government has defined certain measures and strategies to focus on trade, producers and consumers.
The measures take the form of reducing extensive dependence on imports of food supply that reached a sum of RM60 billion per annum in 2021.
Secondly, attract foreign investors to invest in the country’s agro-food sector.
Thirdly, encouraging the aggressive involvement of Government agencies as well as many GLCs, GLICs and private concerns in the agenda to guarantee national food security.
Fourthly, to strengthen the synergy of the Federal Government with the State Governments in increasing the area of land for agricultural activities and;
Lastly, the Government is committed to provide various assistance either in the form of subsidies, grants or financing to help entrepreneurs within the agriculture industry and those along the value chain.
The government also ensures the issue of national food security always given attention through the Technical Committee Addressing National Food Supply Security Issues and Jihad Team Committee Tackle Inflation.
Nation to receive RM5.6 Billion in Agro-based investment
Ismail Sabri said, spurred on by MAHA 2022, some 28 signing sessions of various memorandum of understandings (MOU) will be affirmed involving an investment value of more than RM5.6 billion.
This does not include business matching sessions involving eight marketing companies from abroad to take Malaysian produce and agro-food products to international markets.
RM50 Million Assistance for individuals
Meanwhile, MAHA 2022 was the venue at which Ismail Sabri announced that government agreed to allocate RM50 million through Agrobank under the Program Pembiayaan PEMULIH NewBiz for individuals including graduates who want to start a home-based food micro business.
The assistance could be used to buy machinery or purchase of a motorcycle for the purpose of food delivery through the e-hailing platform and the like, he said.
The scheme will offer financing of up to RM5,000 for the first category and up to RM10,000 for second. Under the program, applicants will also be given a moratorium for the first 6 months from the date of approval and is charged a three percent rate on profits from the seventh month until their term expires. The term of the assistance is for 60 months or 5 years.