Covid-19: Association urges govt to prioritise domestic food security

Shoppers getting groceries at a hypermarket in Puchong on April 1, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Shoppers getting groceries at a hypermarket in Puchong on April 1, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 ― The Malaysia Dry Foodstuff Importers and Exporters Association (MDFIEA) has urged the government to prioritise domestic food supply security in order to ensure adequate food supply nationwide.

Its chairman Datuk Seri Chuah Poh Khiang said preparations should be made as the COVID-19 pandemic might cause disruption to the global food supply and production chain as most countries may inevitably restrict food exports.

“The government’s top priority now is to enhance the efficiency of food import and act fast to formulate necessary measures, to ensure our domestic food supply will not be interrupted in the short to medium term,” he said in a statement today.

Chuah pointed out several necessary steps to ensure the sustainability of the food supply chain by identifying supply list based on consumers’ demands, including prioritising importation and production of staple foods that are in strong demand.

Besides the government should provide adequate assistance to local farmers through well-designed aid programmes to improve domestic agricultural production

“They need to optimise the efficiency of food importation procedures and collaborate with major food sourcing countries to ensure sufficient supply.

“Restrict people from hoarding food to avoid shortage of food supply and food price hike and improve the efficiency of logistics and storage capacity to reduce unnecessary wastage due to food spoilage,” he said.

He said a comprehensive long-term plan was needed to solve the dilemma of insufficient domestic food supply.

Chuah said the heavy reliance on food imports was a long-standing issue in Malaysia, due to certain structural problems such as lack of agricultural land to produce food, inadequate local production to meet domestic needs, local climate issues, low efficiency and high prices of local agricultural products. ― Bernama

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