PETALING JAYA: Consumer groups have called for more long-term measures to ensure that food prices are maintained in the country.
Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) president S.M. Mohamed Idris called on the Government to reduce exports and meet the local demand for food supplies first.
“A lot of our produce – like vegetables, fruits and fish – are exported. This creates supply shortages for locals and hence, increasing prices,” he said, adding that top quality local produce were also supplied to restaurants and hotels first before regular consumers.
Mohamed Idris said the Malaysian Fisheries Development Board should also ban fishing activities in the sea during the monsoon season to enable the fish population to recover, as practised by several countries like India.
“Fishing during the stormy period will lead to over-fishing and cause shortages,” he said, adding that consumers could opt for fresh water fish during the wet season.
Fomca secretary-general Datuk Paul Selvaraj stressed that structural changes in the system were needed to ensure prices remained affordable in the long run.
Selvaraj said more efforts should be taken to increase food production in the country and liberalise the supply chain.
“More land should be used for agriculture to fulfil the growing domestic demand for food. If suitable, abandoned land could be used to plant crops or for farming,” he said.
Selvaraj said the pasar tani (farmers’ market) should also be expanded to enable more farmers to benefit from selling their produce.