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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 16 -- The government will ensure that the country's food system is not affected by any disruption in international trade especially imported supplies, said Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee.
Hence the ministry formulated strategies to boost food production under the National Agro-Food Policy 2021-2030 (DAN 2.0) and the National Food Security Policy Action Plan (DSMN) 2021-2025 to reduce the country’s dependency on imported sources.
Winding up debate on the Supply Bill 2022 at the policy level in the Dewan Rakyat today, Ronald said encouraging cooperation between the private sector through the Large-Scale SMART Paddy Field (SMART SBB) programme and the establishment of specialised agencies under the National Ruminant Board, were among the strategies implemented by the ministry.
“MAFI (Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries) will also boost efforts to adopt modern technology and Industrial Revolution 4.0 technology; to expand urban agricultural activities and Community Garden (Kebuniti) programmes in suitable areas; as well as to strengthen food security-based research and development to produce high-impact seeds,” he said.
Ronald also said MAFI would encourage research based on the development of alternative foods that could potentially substitute rice for dietary purposes, including the development of alternative livestock in addition to increasing healthy eating campaigns that promote locally produced food commodities.
He said in 2020 the country recorded food imports worth RM55.4 billion compared to RM51.4 billion in 2019, adding that it was to ensure sufficient domestic food supply during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
“Among the food items that contributed to the high import value were cereals and cereal preparations, coffee, cocoa, tea and spices. Other foods included meat, dairy products, animal feed, vegetables and fruits.
“The figure also included 30 per cent of temperate climate rice, vegetables and fruits to meet domestic needs,” he added.
He said the ministry has submitted a proposal to set up a food security division at the ministry level to the Public Service Department.
“At the same time, MAFI will also conduct a study on the National Food Security Blueprint to assess the feasibility of establishing a dedicated entity to formulate, monitor and implement food security-related mandates as a whole under the Second Rolling Plan of the 12th Malaysia Plan in 2022,” he said.
The study which is expected to complete in 2023 will also propose strategies to strengthen the country’s food security for the 2026-2030 period, he added.
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