Minister lauds RM4.79b allocation on agrofood sector

Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee addresses reporters during the soft launch of the Malaysian Agriculture and Horticulture Agrotourism Show in Serdang August 26,2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee addresses reporters during the soft launch of the Malaysian Agriculture and Horticulture Agrotourism Show in Serdang August 26,2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 — The allocation of RM4.79 billion for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) shows the government is placing importance on the agrofood sector to boost the country’s economy.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee said the allocation comprised the operating expenditure of RM3.28 billion and development expenditure of RM1.51 billion.

“Under operating expenditure, the ministry has received RM1.72 billion for the provision of subsidies, incentives and aid for farmers and fishermen in 2021.

“The incentives and aid to be given are for, among others, raising the paddy and rice production competitiveness through improving productivity, quality and efficiency, besides reducing their financal burden, especially during this challenging economic situation,” he said in a statement, here, today.

Kiandee said the amount of subsidies and incentives increased by RM50 million compared to last year, with the reintroduction of fertiliser subsidy for hill paddy cultivation with an allocation of RM40 million.

He said the total subsidies and incentives received for the paddy sector would benefit 300,000 farmers across the country.

“The Fishermen’s Cost of Living Allowance, meanwhile, has received an additional allocation of RM30 million with the monthly allowance for each fisherman increased from RM250 to RM300.

“This will benefit 40,000 fishermen, whereby the government has returned the amount of allowance which had earlier been cut so as to lighten the financial burden of fishermen affected by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

Kiandee said the ministry had also received an allocation of RM410 million to implement some major initiatives including the Community Garden Programme or Kebuniti.

“Alsp, the Microcredit Financing Scheme under Agrobank will provide more opportunities to the SMEs, women and youth wanting to venture into the agrofood sector for starting capital, while the existing entrepreneurs can use the fund to restart their affected business during this current period,” he added.

Meanwhile, MAFI Deputy Minister I, Datuk Seri Ahmad Hamzah at an event to release 25,000 prawn fry into Sungai Rambai in Melaka today, said the agriculture sector contributed 7.1 per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019 and it was projected to increase by 4.7 per cent next year. — Bernama

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