Following news of temporary closure of a chicken farm and some chicken sellers going on strike, the government of Malaysia must reveal what is their plan to guarantee food security in the country.
In Ipoh, when I visited the markets, I met with sellers that said they will go on strike as they are unable to make money following the ceiling price of RM 8.90 per kilogram set by the government. The price, they say, is not feasible as that amounts to their cost price and would make no sense for them to do business like this.
Hence, the government should step in and roll out subsidies immediately as food security is a very important matter and one matter that cannot be delayed due to the incompetence or lack of efficiency of Ministers.
The Prime Minister can step in and do something about this, no need to wait on his Ministers.
The government should also know that due to world events, we are bound to feel the effects of food shortage soon, so what is the government’s plan? There are some who say if the government fails to pay attention to the matter, we are another Sri Lanka waiting to happen.
There must be a mechanism to address food shortage. We have been so dependent on food from overseas which amounts to a mammoth RM50 billion a year. This is despite the country having enough land and also perfect weather for agriculture, not to mention the potential for urban farming and vertical farming.
Why not encourage more Malaysians to be involved in farming so we can control the fate of our food. Why not introduce subsidies and grants to start this business, provide free skilling and upskilling for Vertical farming and allocate land for this purpose?
I welcome the move by Ipoh Mayor Dato Rumaizi Baharin who launched the Urban Farming project in Ipoh. This should be done nationwide so that more people can participate even if it means planting chilies in a small pot at home.
If food shortage is not addressed, Malaysians from a lower income group may suffer tremendously and even lead to malnourishment.