Agriculture sector allowed to operate including at EMCO areas – Ronald

— The Cabinet meeting today agreed to allow the agriculture sector and its chain to continue operating at all times, including in areas placed under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO), said Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee.

He said this was in line with the government’s decision to place the agriculture, fisheries and livestock sector and their supply chain as essential services which were allowed to operate at all times, subject to the standard operating procedures stipulated by the National Security Council (MKN).

“The MKN Special Meeting on COVID-19 Management on June 14 also agreed to allow the agriculture sector throughout the country to continue to operate, including the floriculture sector.

“It is hoped that the decision can address the issue of movement of vegetable supplies and bring relief to all farmers and industry players in EMCO areas, especially Cameron Highlands,” he said in a statement today.

The media had previously reported that vegetable prices in the market have gone up by 40 per cent following the implementation of the EMCO in Cameron Highlands from June 14 till 27.

According to Ronald, the marketing and delivery of vegetable supplies to the market were disrupted due to the implementation of the EMCO at Kampung Raja, which covers Kampung Sungai Ikan up to Kampung Blue Valley, which is an agricultural area totalling 607 hectares.

“This resulted in 500 metric tonnes of agricultural produce cannot be distributed out to the market as the workers in the area were unable to go to the farms and the lorries transporting the products also cannot leave the EMCO area,” he said.

It is estimated that around 580 vegetable and flower farmers are carrying out agricultural activities in the area, producing some 560 metric tonnes of products daily, he added.

Ronald said the enforcement authorities had been informed to allow the movement of lorries transporting agricultural produce from the EMCO areas in Cameron Highlands.

“This is important to ensure that the country’s food supply chain is not disrupted in any kind of situation,” he said.

Meanwhile, as of yesterday, the ministry through its departments and agencies had issued a total of 1,456 permission letters for involvement in informal agricultural sectors activities including in Cameron Highlands.

Ronald said the agriculture sector would also be allowed to operate in Phase 2, 3 and 4 of the National Recovery Plan in line with the country’s preparation to transition out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The ministry will continue its efforts to ensure the country’s food supply remains stable and adequate in any situation, especially when the country is still facing the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency