As fertiliser prices go up, farmers seek cash subsidy to offset costs

·2-min read
A farmer works at a vegetable farm in Kapar November 3, 2020. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
A farmer works at a vegetable farm in Kapar November 3, 2020. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 — The Federation of Malaysian Vegetables Farmers’ Association has proposed the government provide cash subsidies to cushion rising operational costs.

Its adviser Tan So Tiok said the federation has about 6,000 members nationwide, and many may cease operations due to soaring fertiliser and pesticide prices, The Star reported today.

He suggested a cash subsidy of RM100 to each farmer for every tonne of vegetables produced to “help cushion the impact of the huge increase in the cost of fertilisers, which has now risen from RM120 to over RM200”.

According to Tan, the government in 2009 had given out RM81 cash aid to every farmer for each tonne of vegetable produced.

He added that the situation was compounded by a shortage of farm workers as many have pivoted to the construction and plantations sectors for higher pay.

“The Human Resource Ministry’s Manpower Department should be considerate and not impose strict rules when it comes to approving foreign workers for farms.

“We don’t condone members who do not provide proper facilities for their workers, but we hope that the government could be a bit more lenient and look into the plight of farmers,” he was quoted saying.

According to Tan, a letter determining the number of foreign staff needed at the farms would only be issued by the department once it had inspected farms or hostels for the workers.

”Only then will we go and pay for the permits and levies for the workers. Since the country’s borders reopened on April 1, the process has been slow and almost all the farms are having a problem with workers, including my own,” he was quoted saying.

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