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Monday July 25, 2011
SEREMBAN: When the Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (Fama) opened the first pasar tani (agricultural market) in Ampangan, Seremban in 1985, little did they imagine it would multiply and become popular.
Two-and-half decades later, there are now 29 pasar tani throughout Negri Sembilan.
“In the beginning, there were only around 20 traders. Today, there are 1,072 pasar tani traders in the state. Sales have also been on the increase. In 2010, RM17.9mil was recorded in sales, compared with RM16.9mil the previous year.
“Based on the sales performance of RM7.1mil between January and April this year, we expect total sales of RM21.3mil by year-end,” state Agriculture, Agro-based Industry, Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative Action Committee chairman Datuk Yunus Rahmat said here.
He said the increase in sales could be due to several factors such as more pasar tani areas being set up, rise in customer spending at the agriculture market or an increase in demand due to the expanding population.
“To me, if it was due to the increase in the number of pasar tani or rise in demand due to population growth, that is expected. But if it was due to higher spending at the pasar tani, than we can deduce the market has its own charm,” he said.
The attraction could be due to cheaper and more competitive pricing, the produce sold being fresh and of quality, cleanliness of the markets, variety of products, strategic location and friendliness of the traders, he observed.
The market is structured on the concept that the traders are the producers, such as farmers, breeders, fishermen and entrepreneurs of small and medium-sized industries.
“But we have to factor in the changes in the market that cause these former producers to become full-time traders. Pasar tani traders must understand that the market is a mechanism to shorten the supply chain by minimising the players.
“In other words, eliminating the middlemen so that the producers gain fair or higher profits while passing on savings to the consumers. Profit is highest when we are closest to the market in the supply chain. Depending on the middleman could lower profits considerably,” Yunus said.
State Fama director A. Rahaman Suleiman said Fama has introduced various concepts for pasar tani, besides the retail market.
Among them are pasar tani mega, pasar tani kekal, pasar tani taman and pasar tani karavan aimed at providing a bigger market and making it convenient to sell local produce.
The establishment of such pasar tani is in line with the need to develop marketing and logistical infrastructure from farm to fork, especially in Negri Sembilan, he said.
Paroi Jaya pasar tani manager Abdul Manap Ahmad, 58, said agriculture was one of the most important sectors in the global trade market, adding that the success of a country in developing its agricultural sector was also a reflection of its self-sufficiency.
“We can see that the developed countries like the United States, Netherlands and Japan do not neglect the development of its agricultural sector. The sector is, in fact, being developed into a competitive and profitable business entity.”
On the other hand, Malaysia is still classified as an import country and this can be seen in the national food trade balance bill, which has never shown a surplus.
In 2010, food imports accounted for some RM28bil. The Prime Minister has recommended that it be reduced by half to RM14bil a year.
“We can prevent the outflow of currency and reduce expenditure this way. But if nothing is done, the rising import bill will sooner or later adversely affect the country’s economic development,” he remarked.
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