Budget 2024: Government to increase food security incentives

13 Oct 2023 07:52pm
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim

SHAH ALAM - The government has increased the floor purchase price of rice to RM1,300 per metric tonne, addressing the concerns of paddy farmers in the country.

In tabling the 2024 Budget today, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the government has reduced the buying price offered by manufacturers, which has been lowered to a minimum of RM1,200 per metric tonne.

“The government has maintained the floor price at RM1,200 since 2014. To assist the income of paddy farmers, the government has decided to increase the floor purchase price to RM1,300 per metric tonne.

“The government has initiated a pilot project for rice cultivation over five seasons within a two-year period in various lowland areas, including Bota Kiri, Perak; Kangar, Perlis; and Kota Sarang Semut, Kedah.

“This aligns with the efforts to upgrade irrigation infrastructure in the Muda Agricultural Development Authority (MADA) regions of Perlis and Kedah, with a substantial investment of RM3 billion,” he said when tabling the Malaysia Madani Budget 2024 in the Dewan Rakyat.

The Prime Minister said the government has also agreed to increase the subsidy allocation for "padi bukit" from RM40 million to RM50 million.

“This is expected to expand the area of hill paddy cultivation to 43,000 hectares,” he said.

Besides, he added that, in support of the fishermen, the government will continue to subsidise diesel at the lowest price of RM1.65 per litre for specific classes of fishermen with an annual quota of 840 million litres.

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“These fishermen will also receive a living allowance of up to RM300 per month and a Fisherman's Catch Incentive of up to RM1,000 per month.

“An additional RM10 million has been allocated for the construction of new homes and the repair of ageing fishermen's houses," he added.

Next year, RM400 million will be set aside for the Food Security Strengthening Programme, Anwar said.

“This programme will focus on increasing local food crop production, which is currently reliant on external imports.

“The allocation includes RM150 million for collaborating with state governments to optimise land use for enhanced crop and livestock yields and RM50 million for the implementation of a new open tender procurement method for farmers to choose the type of fertiliser they want to use.

“This project will be piloted on 90,000 hectares across regions like Perak, Selangor, Terengganu, and Penang. Additionally, RM50 million will be provided to supply 50,000 farmers with bio- and organic fertilisers to improve soil fertility,” he said.

Besides, he said that to support the increase in agricultural production capacity and the competitiveness of young agropreneurs, Agrobank will provide loans to agri-food entrepreneurs with a fund availability of up to RM430 million.

“The government is committed to protecting farmers, livestock breeders, and fishermen who face disasters that can destroy their crops and livestock.

“RM50 million has been allocated under the Agricultural Disaster Fund to provide compensation of up to 50 per cent of the loss value due to disasters.

“RM50 million has been provided as seed capital under the Paddy Crop Takaful Scheme to benefit over 240,000 rice farmers,” he said.