As prices bite, Anwar says Putrajaya to develop urban farming scheme

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA SELANGOR, Feb 25 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today said the government will introduce a targeted urban agriculture programme to boost Malaysia’s food production and mitigate rising costs.

Emphasising the need to emulate the success of urban farming initiatives seen in neighbouring Singapore, Anwar said there were strategies relevant to Malaysia, such as how to overcome limited land in urban and suburban settings, with a pilot scheme to commence in Kuala Lumpur.

“In addition to continuing our existing efforts in agriculture, we also need to focus on urban agriculture, particularly involving the urban poor.

“I have also asked the ministers involved to look into this matter including providing special additional allocations in this field to enhance agricultural activities in urban areas,” he said during a dialogue session at the closing ceremony of the Central Zone Madani Rakyat programme in Kuala Selangor Sports Complex.

He added that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, along with other relevant ministries and agencies, have been given a month to devise suitable plans for the implementation.

On the related note, Anwar acknowledged the declining value of the ringgit’s impact on Japan’s yen, China’s renminbi and all other Asean currencies except the Singapore dollar.

However, Anwar said it was important to heed the advice of international financial experts in addressing currency fluctuations, stating that while measures could be taken to stabilise the ringgit, discussions on this matter fall under the purview of Bank Negara Malaysia.

On Feb 20, the ringgit fell to its lowest level since the Asian Financial Crisis of the late 1990s. The currency had also suffered a more than four per cent drop this year, partly due to poor export performance and rising US interest rates.