Agriculture minister: Seed distribution delay in Kedah, Perlis due to high demand for MR 297 paddy variety

Agriculture minister: Seed distribution delay in Kedah, Perlis due to high demand for MR 297 paddy variety

A general view of paddy that is ready to be harvested in Sekinchan, Selangor November 28, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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JOHOR BARU, Oct 23 — The delay in the distribution of paddy seeds in Kedah and Perlis, allegedly affecting more than 50,000 farmers in the two states, is not due to malpractice, but due to the high demand for MR 297 paddy seed variety.

Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee said the government’s action in setting a ceiling price of RM35 for each bag of certified paddy seeds (BPS), apart from the detention of several individuals had succeeded in reducing the issue of malpractice or price manipulation.

“This issue is not as serious as last season and it is due to the high demand for MR 297 paddy variety, but the Padi and Rice Regulatory Division together with the agencies and ministry have taken action.

“It is necessary to take immediate action to avoid bigger problems faced by farmers,” he told reporters after a video conference session with the High Commissioner of Malaysia to Singapore at the Johor Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) office today.

In another development, Ronald said the ministry would hold discussions with the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) and industry players on the recent issue of food price hike.

On the 2022 Budget which is expected to be tabled on Friday in the Dewan Rakyat, he hoped that the allocation for the ministry would focus on the recovery of the agrofood sector affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. — Bernama

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