NIBONG TEBAL, Aug 18 (Bernama) -- The country’s agrofood industry has recorded RM60.2 million in losses due to typhoon Lekima that created havoc in the northern region states of Perlis, Kedah, Pulau Pinang and Perak on Aug 9.
Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Sim Tze Tzin, said fish farming sector recorded most losses at RM29 million due to damages to fish cages and dead fish.
“The devastating effect on agrofood industry caused by the typhoon that hit the states on Aug 9 involved rice cultivation, fish farming, poultry and cash crops.
“However, the worst affected were the fish farms in Penang, involving 152 entrepreneurs with 800 tonnes of dead fish as well as 80 to 100 per cent damages on hundreds of cages valued at RM29 million,” he told reporters after visiting the damaged fish farms in Sungai Udang here today.
Sungai Udang was among the worst affected area by typhoon Lekima and 141 fish farm operators suffered serious damage to infrastructure and equipment with more than 700 tonnes of fish either dead or escaped from the cages. Apart from the Sungai Udang, fish farms in Teluk Bahang and Pantai Jerejak were also affected.
-Meanwhile, Sim said his ministry would take several immediate steps to help affected fishermen so they could rebuild fish cages to meet the demand for fishery resources.
He said the ministry would also meet with the Agro Bank in the near future to discuss financial assistance for the fish farm operators.
“I will ask the other banks to help too as we don’t want the affected entrepreneurs to lose hope such as the flash flood incident in 2017 where the affected businessmen refused to continue their fish farming due to unsuccessful loans,” he said.
A detailed report on the damage suffered by the farmers, livestock breeders and fishermen as a result of the typhoon Lekima was also being prepared, to ensure that necessary forms of assistance were provided to them, he said.
Meanwhile, Sim recommended for the sea fish breeders to use a modern cage system called HDPE circular floating cage as it was built stronger and not easily damaged.
“For a start, the ministry will allocate two sets of HDPE cages measuring 12 square metres each worth RM100,000 to the Sungai Udang Fishermen Association so that it can be used as a pilot project and see how this new system operates,” he said.
On Aug 9, seven states, namely Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Perak, Selangor, Pahang and Terengganu were hit by a devastating typhoon Lekima that caused damages to many residents’ homes and buildings.