The cabinet has agreed to allow Cameron Highlands farmers to operate even if they are located in enhanced movement control order (MCO) areas.
This comes following news reports that vegetable prices were set to rise after farms in the Kampung Raja area had to shut and workers were barred from going to work.
The enhanced MCO was imposed from June 14 to 27 after farmworkers contracted Covid-19 and sparked the Flora Blue Valley cluster in Pahang.
In a statement last night, Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Ronald Kiandee said the government had categorised agriculture as an essential sector.
“The cabinet agreed today (June 16) to allow the agriculture sector and its supply chains to continue operating at all times, including in enhanced MCO areas.
“This is in line with the government’s decision to place the agriculture, fisheries and livestock sectors plus its supply chains as essential services that are allowed to operate at all times subject to standard operating procedures determined by the National Security Council (NSC),” he said.
The decision applies to agricultural sub-sectors like floriculture and decorative flowers as well.
He added that the NSC had made a similar decision on June 14.
“This decision has been communicated to the police and other enforcement agencies so that lorries will be allowed to travel in and out to transport agricultural products including vegetables and fruits from enhanced MCO areas, and to allow deliveries from Cameron Highlands farms to continue,” the minister said.
Those living in areas under enhanced MCO are typically barred from leaving home, even for work. No one is allowed in or out of the locality.
Ronald explained that the exception was made for Cameron Highlands to ensure the continuity of the food supply chain.
“The ministry will ensure all networks and supply chains in the agriculture and food industry sectors will not be disrupted during the MCO, including if there is an enhanced MCO in certain areas.
“(This) is to ensure that the food supply chain (is not disrupted) and food security guaranteed,” he said.
In a related development, The Star reported a similar assurance from Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong.
He said Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin would ensure that enforcement officers were informed of the latest decision.