PASIR SALAK, March 10 ― The current higher prices of vegetables and fruits are closely associated with the drop in the value of the ringgit, said Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman.
He said the drop in the value of the ringgit had raised the farmers' cost of operation because imported fertiliser and agricultural equipment now cost up to 30 per cent more.
"Much fertiliser is imported and the currency used is the dollar. With the drop in the value of the ringgit, the cost of the fertiliser has risen by between 20 and 30 per cent," he told reporters after the presentation of donations from the Welfare Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti) here today.
Tajuddin, the MP for Pasir Salak, was asked to comment on media reports today that the prices of local agricultural goods were higher than imported products.
He said the rise in the prices of local agricultural goods was also due to the factor of the distribution chain of various levels.
The ministry, through the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority, always strived to minimise the distribution chain to contain price increases, he said.
One of the ways was through the introduction of the MyFarm Outlets which sold foodstuff at prices five to 20 per cent lower than the market prices, he said.
The MyFarm Outlets were proposed under the Budget 2016 recalibration measures announced on Jan 28 by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
At the event, 10 needy Form Four students from five schools in the Pasir Salak parliamentary constituency received study aid of RM600. ― Bernama