THE Government has banned pig livestock and any pork-related products from Vietnam as three farms there are affected by the African swine flu, says Sim Tze Tzin.
The Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister said the move was to protect the farms and farmers in the country as more countries had been detected with the virus.
“We will have to continue to step up preventive measures if more countries come down with the virus.
“We are not trying to discriminate or make it difficult for travellers and tourists from these affected countries.
“However, we need to do screenings at the borders and airports to protect the bio-security in Malaysia,” he told a press conference after launching the Agroinvest event in Bukit Jambul, Bayan Lepas, Penang, on Saturday.
So far, the virus has been detected in 10 other countries namely China, Mongolia, Belgium, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Ukraine and Chad in Africa.
Sim also clarified that the import ban on meat and live plants without a permit had always been in effect.
“It is just that only random checks are carried out, so some people managed to smuggle the products into the country.
“Now, all hand-carry items and luggage, especially from outbreak areas will be checked.
“So far, some 1,400kg of pork products were seized,” he said, adding the virus was not detected in any of the items.
On another matter, Sim urged for more funds to be allocated for research and development in the agriculture sector.
“The allocation for research grants is only 0.36%, which is less than 1%.
“We want to invest more into agriculture because it has a huge potential.
“If the Government can give more funding to research, we can produce more products and entrepreneurs can then market them,” he said.
Sim said globally, the research and development grants should be 4% of the Government’s budget.