‘Address oversupply by setting up special fund for farmers’


Farmers fear there will be fewer orders for fresh produce during the lockdown. —Filepic

CASH crop farmers are hoping that the government will allocate dedicated funding to the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) to address the issue of oversupply during the lockdown.

Johor Farmers Movement Association chairman Datuk Mazlan Aliman said that during the first movement control order in March last year, the oversupply of fruits and vegetables had led to wastage and farmers incurred thousands of ringgit in losses.

Mazlan showing a copy of the memorandum that he handed over to Johor Fama’s Shahrizan.Mazlan showing a copy of the memorandum that he handed over to Johor Fama’s Shahrizan.

“We anticipate a similar situation with the current lockdown.

“Like the last time, we anticipate that buyers will cancel or reduce their orders for perishable goods.

“The government should channel a special fund to Fama to purchase the harvested produce and market them in more locations such as rural areas.

“This should be done to help farmers, who are considered frontliners in food security, ” he said at a press conference after handing over a memorandum on the matter to Johor Fama director Shahrizan Sudirman.

The memorandum calls on the government to review its disaster relief fund for farmers, which presently covers natural events such as floods, to also include losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mazlan, who represents about 1,000 farmers in Johor, said Fama should set up a 24-hour operations room with a hotline number for farmers to relay their concerns and seek help.

This would ensure issues faced by farmers were addressed quickly, he said.

He noted that it would be useful for Fama since it was in the midst of updating its database of farmers too.

The association also urged Fama to come up with a better pricing mechanism to prevent profiteering.“We received many complaints from farmers who had to sell their harvest of cucumbers, ladies’ fingers, chillies and brinjals at a much lower price to middlemen, who then supplied the items to others according to the market price.

“This makes it difficult for farmers to cover their operating costs, ” he said.

Mazlan said the association was formed in November last year to improve networking among farmers and with related state authorities.He added that the organisation aimed to have a membership of 10,000.

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oversupply , lockdown , farmers

   

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