BELURAN, Nov 28 — The government, especially the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry (Mafi) is working to find the best solution to help farmers and livestock breeders who are affected by the rising costs of fertilisers and pesticides, said minister Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee.

As an early response, he said, the government allocated RM232 million (towards this end), including raising the farmers’ pesticide aid subsidy from RM200 to RM300 a hectare per season.

“This, of course, doesn’t solve the issue of rising prices for pesticides and fertilisers. So, the government is trying to take steps to alleviate the burden of our agricultural entrepreneurs.

“What we are facing now is a challenging situation as prices have gone up for components of fertilisers and pesticides as well as components of animal feed. This is a global issue caused by disruptions to production of these materials at the international level,” he told reporters after launching the Ceria Ke Sekolah (CKS) programme by the Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB), here, today.

Ronald acknowledged that the rising costs of these materials are in turn affecting the prices of vegetables in the market.

On November 25, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the provision of the initial response and also directed Mafi, the Finance Ministry as well as the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to formulate mitigation steps to address this issue.

Concerning the SESB programme, Ronald praised corporate companies for stepping forward to provide assistance to the rural community, especially those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Although the government has, through various programmes, channelled aid to the people during this pandemic period, private companies and government-linked companies can also join the government’s efforts as there are still many in need, especially in the rural areas,” he said.

Meanwhile, SESB senior general manager (Asset Management) Ir Idris Mohd Noor said the corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme shows SESB’s concern for people in need, especially in the face of a pandemic.

Through the CSR programme, he said, a total of 200 students in Beluran were selected to receive aid in the form of school bags, books and stationery, dictionaries as well as pocket money of RM50 each.

“We have also helped the education sector by taking on several foster schools. In Sabah this year, there are four or five foster schools that have been given one-off assistance of RM34,000 to provide a more conducive learning environment,” he added. — Bernama