Malaysia spent RM45 billion on food imports last year

Common fruits and vegetables including watermelon, banana, rambutan, onions, garlic, chillies among those imported.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia spent RM 45.4 billion last year on fresh and frozen fruits, vegetables and meat imports from 120 countries, The Star Online reported today.

According to the report, citing Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry statistics, common fruits including watermelon, banana, pineapple and even rambutan were among those imported.

Even common vegetables such as onions, garlic, sweet potato, tomato and chillies were imported.

The fruits and vegetables were sourced from countries such as China, India, Thailand and Australia, and some produce were even imported from Singapore.

The report quoted Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) secretary-general Paul Selvaraj as saying the government should prioritise food security so that the country could reduce its dependency on the import of essential items.

He said Malaysia was too dependent on imports and this had caused the prices of some food items to skyrocket and noted that at present, Malaysia was only self-sufficient in a few items such as eggs, poultry and pork.

Selvaraj said food crop security had been on the decline since the government shifted its focus from agriculture to industrialisation.

He said the country needed to focus more on food crops to become more self-sufficient, and that this could be done by giving more incentives and protection to farmers.

Source: FMT News. Date: April 7, 2016

Malaysia spent RM45 billion on food imports last year