Telling people to grow, breed their own food? Perak MB's proposal not out-of-box but 'out of mind', DAP rep says

·3-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

IPOH, June 2 — Pasir Pinji assemblyman Howard Lee Chuan How has slammed Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad today for asking the public to grow their own vegetables and breed livestock as a solution to food supply shortage.

Lee said that Saarani’s idea may seem to be an out-of-box solution, but in reality, he said it is an 'out of mind' suggestion.

'It is true that food crisis has hit the country until the prices of food have increased. It certainly needs drastic action to preserve food security.

'However, is the suggestion to grow vegetables and breed livestock truly the solution that can be implemented?” he asked in a statement.

On May 31, Saarani urged the people in the state to grow vegetables and rear livestock for their own consumption due to the current shortage of food supply.

Saarani said this could be among the initiatives taken to reduce the burden of rising cost of living due to the spike in the price of agriculture products and livestock meat such as chicken and mutton while the surplus could be sold.

Lee, who is also DAP’s central executive council committee member, said Saarani should consider several factors before proposing such a solution.

'Firstly, how many people in the state have extra land to farm or breed and how many have time to carry out such work with their daily activities?

'Also how many people have the experience to farm vegetables and breed livestock?” he asked.

Lee said, in reality, those who live in terrace houses, apartments and flats do not have the space to grow vegetables and breed livestock.

'People also stuck with their work commitments. Some are working until night and they don’t have time for farming or breeding,” he said.

Lee said if the government really want the people to do so then it should provide land for them, even if it is only for leasing as long as they can cultivate for a few years.

'The government should also provide working capital, seedlings and saplings, adequate education and training so that every citizen of Perak can cultivate crops and livestock for their own use through State Agriculture Department Corporation (SADC) subsidiaries.

'What is the use of agriculture and livestock-based subsidiaries if they are not fully utilised by the government?” Lee said.

Lee also pointed out that the government has evicted those small farmers who actually independently grow vegetables in the city.

'These small farmers are examples of independent citizens. They have been involved in agriculture for decades and therefore have experience and knowledge. Some of them have applied for a Temporary Passenger License, but they have been ignored.

'Now they are being evicted from the land they are cultivating because the developers want to build more terrace houses and apartments that are definitely without land space for homeowners to grow their own vegetables,” he said.

He said the food crisis that is happening in the country is due to the failure of the central government in formulating a proper policy.

'For example, the decision to supply chickens in the market stems from the actions of farmers who had to stop production because they could not afford the cost. The price of chicken feed rose sharply which forced farmers to raise the price of raw chicken.

'The government had imposed a ceiling price on raw chicken but at the same time failing to allocate subsidies to farmers became the cause of chicken production being halted until the supply was cut off,” he said.

Lee said the question now rise is whether the idea of Saarani is due to the failure of the state agriculture executive committee chairman to formulate an agricultural policy and advise the mentri Besar, or the existing state executive council inability to deal with the food crisis.

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