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We’ll throw the book at those found hoarding local rice seeds, Mat Sabu warns

KUALA LUMPUR: Stern action will be taken against irresponsible parties found to be hoarding local rice seeds, warns Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu.

The Agriculture and Food Security Minister told Parliament on Tuesday (Nov 14) arrests for such activities had been made in over 20 locations and the authorities would take strict measures.

“There should not be any hoarding. We are warning all of (those involved) to give their full cooperation.

“The price of rice can be discussed later. For now, padi planting must be expedited.

“We do not want certain parties to exploit the situation (for their own ends) and cause suffering to others,” he said in reply to a supplementary question from Datuk Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal (PN-Bukit Gantang).

Syed Abu Hussin had asked about complaints from padi farmers due to the lack of rice seeds in the market and some being sold beyond controlled prices.

This could lead to some of them being unable to plant rice this season, he added.

The Star said in a front-page report on Saturday (Nov 11) that in five months, the country may face a severe shortage of local white rice due to unpredictable weather and the bloated price of padi seeds.

The erratic weather, said to be the result of climate change, has kept farmers on their toes even though they had switched to a schedule that would allow them to harvest five times every two years.

Another dilemma they faced was a shortage in supply of padi seeds, which has caused prices to skyrocket.

Mohamad also gave an assurance that the authorities were taking all necessary steps, including enforcement action, to ensure that rice was planted according to schedule.

“We will act as swiftly as possible,” he added.

To a question from Khoo Poay Tiong (PH-Kota Melaka) regarding the apparent lack of private interest in investing in agriculture, Mohamad noted that the agri-food sector was in the recovery stage.

“The government will try to facilitate its recovery as soon as possible,” he said.

On Khoo’s question about the targets of the National Agri-Food Policy 2021-2030 and development goals of the livestock sector, Mohamad said the ministry was implementing an action plan according to its five core strategies. QR Code

Published Date: November 14, 2023

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