Covid-19: Ministry wants vaccination of agricultural frontliners expedited

Agriculture and Food Industry Deputy Minister II Datuk Che Abdullah Mat Nawi said there was an urgent need for vaccination as the group always faced the community to channel food supplies and, thus, faced the risk of Covid-19 infection. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Agriculture and Food Industry Deputy Minister II Datuk Che Abdullah Mat Nawi said there was an urgent need for vaccination as the group always faced the community to channel food supplies and, thus, faced the risk of Covid-19 infection. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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KOTA BARU, June 17 — The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (Mafi) has urged the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) to expedite the vaccination of frontliners in the agricultural sector nationwide.

Its deputy minister II, Datuk Che Abdullah Mat Nawi said it had sent the request to Mosti for consideration recently.

He said there was an urgent need for vaccination as the group always faced the community to channel food supplies and, thus, faced the risk of Covid-19 infection.

“Although the government recommends staying at home, the frontliners in the agricultural sector, such as farmers, livestock breeders and fishermen involved in the food production chain, including marketing, must always be on the move.

“If they do not move about this month, for example, it is likely that in the next two or three months we will experience a shortage of food supply. So, efforts to speed up vaccination for this group is a necessity,” he said.

He told reporters this after officiating the National Agriculture Development Seminar 2021 online at the Kelantan Agriculture Department Headquarters in Lundang here today and it was also attended by Kelantan Agriculture director NorBahani Zakaria.

Che Abdullah also said that a total of 455,437 farmers, 42,879 livestock breeders and 150,676 fishermen were registered with the ministry through various agencies until 2019.

He said his office also took the initiative, at the agriculture department level, to help those facing problems registering as vaccine recipients on the MySejahtera application.

“We urge all farmers, fishermen and livestock breeders to register through MySejahtera, and those who face problems to ask for help from their children or fill in manually at the agriculture departments,” he said.

Commenting on seminar, Che Abdullah said it was aimed at strengthening the skills of the Agriculture Department’s expansion agents towards new norms that would not include visits or face-to-face dealings.

He said the agro-food industry had faced major challenges, especially in the early stages of the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) as the smooth running of the food chain was disrupted, including the production, distribution and retailing of agricultural products and the food industry.

“Still, the government has managed to ensure that the situation is always under control and there is sufficient and stable food supply for the people,” he said. — Bernama

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