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Thursday, April 30, 2020

REAL WARNING WHILE AZMIN PLOTS POLITICAL SHENANIGANS: SHORTAGE OF LOCAL VEGETABLES SOON AFTER FARMERS CUT BACK

A SEVERE shortage of local vegetables is expected in the coming weeks as farmers in Cameron Highlands have been forced to cut back on new plantings because of disruptions in the supply chain.
Fresh vegetables are likely to cost up to 40% more, especially in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, said farmers and wholesalers.
The disruption in the supply chain is due to new rules governing operations at the Selayang wholesale market – an important logistics hub for vegetables int he country.
The stricter rules on who can enter and work in the market are aimed at curbing the coronavirus transmission, leading to an 80% drop in demand for fresh greens from wholesalers.
Areas surrounding the market in Selayang have been put under an enhanced movement-control order (EMCO) after coronavirus infections were detected among foreign workers.
The labour shortage and requirement for traders to apply for a pass have seen the number of wholesalers drop from 216 to 50, said Wong.
Interstate travel has been affected under the movement-control order (MCO) which was enforced on March 18 to curb the spread of Covid-19, which has so far infected 5,945 and killed 100.
Malaysian Vegetable Wholesalers’ Association president Chong Tek Keong told The Malaysian Insight the number of lorries ferrying vegetables from Cameron Highlands to the market has dropped from 50 to 10 daily.
As result of the 80% drop in demand, farmers in Cameron Highlands have cut back on their plantings and harvests by up to 30%, said Federation of Malaysian Vegetable Farmers’ Association president Tan So Tiok.
“Earlier, the vegetable prices rose because of the dry season as harvests were affected,” Tan told The Malaysian Insight.
“Now it is because the Selayang wholesale market is not operating at full capacity.”
The Selayang market was ordered closed for disinfection from April 20 to 23 because of the EMCO and after about seven traders and 17 workers tested positive for Covid-19.
Chong previously said that many traders won’t re-open their stalls after the four-day shutdown out of fear of contracting the virus.
Cameron Highlands Vegetable Growers’ Association Secretary Chay Ee Mong estimates that the lower supply from farms will drive up the prices of certain vegetables by up to 40%.
“For some leafy vegetables, their prices have gone up RM4 to RM5 per kg.”  
Tan said the disruptions in the supply chain due to the coronavirus have caused farmers to lose about RM23 million between March 18 and April 14.
“In the first two phases of the MCO, we lost from RM900,000 to RM1 million per day due to the low demand and unsold produce.
“It is because of the lower demand that farmers are now reducing their planting.”
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT

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