KOTA BARU: The Government has set a uniform RM1,200 per tonne as the price for the purchase of padi from the farmers in the peninsula from the next harvest in a move to weed out the middlemen.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who announced this yesterday, said private rice millers would have to pay the same price for the padi from the farmers or have their licence revoked.
The current price for padi bought from the farmers differed from state to state, with RM980 per tonne in Kelantan, RM1,050 in Kedah and RM1,200 in Selangor.
Middlemen often manipulated the padi transactions to the detriment of the farmers, Ismail Sabri told reporters after launching an exercise to combat middlemen in the padi and rice sub-sector at the Puteri Saadong Area Farmers Organisation (AFO) in Binjai, here.
“The activities of the middlemen, which are becoming widespread, have resulted in losses for the farmers. They only make a small profit and become too dependent on the middlemen,” he said.
Ismail Sabri also said another measure to eliminate the middlemen was getting the AFOs, Kemubu Agriculture Development Authority (Kada) and the Muda Agriculture Development Authority (Mada) to buy padi directly from the farmers and take the crop to the mills.
Ismail Sabri also said that in a move to ensure better distribution of the subsidised Super Tempatan 15 (ST15) rice to the low-income group, the distribution would be undertaken at the padi purchasing centres, AFOs and Bernas rice mills beginning April 1. — Bernama
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