Measures in place to ensure no food supply chain disruption during total lockdown: Malaysian minister
PUTRAJAYA: Measures will be taken to ensure that food supply from the agriculture, fishing and farming sectors will not be disrupted during the two-week total lockdown from Tuesday (Jun 1), said Minister for Agriculture and Food Industries Ronald Kiandee.
In a statement on Monday (May 31), the minister said that follow-up measures and preparations will be taken to ensure that all agricultural and food industry networks and supply chains will not be affected when the first phase of the total lockdown takes effect.
This is to make sure that the country’s continuity of its supply chain and food security are safeguarded.
“MAFI (Malaysian Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry) is committed to ensure that the food network and supply chain in the country remain stable, sufficient and under control, as well as accessible to the public all the time,” said Dr Kiandee.
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He said that sectors such agriculture, fishing and farming are essential services that are allowed to operate during the lockdown, subject to the approved standard operating procedures (SOPs).
In its announcement on Sunday, the Malaysian government said that 17 essential service sectors and 12 manufacturing sectors will be allowed to operate during the first phase of the lockdown.
Agricultural, fishery, livestock, plantation and commodity sectors as well as their supply chains will also be allowed to run.
According to the minister, based on the livestock commodity data, the supply of meat, chickens, eggs and milk is expected to be sufficient for the country.
June figures show 22,590.58 metric tonnes of meat, 125,067.61 metric tonnes of chicken, about 976 million chicken eggs and more than 4.1 million L of fresh milk.
The estimated supply of 185,000 metric tonnes of fish per month is more than enough to meet the current demand of 155,000 metric tonnes of fish, Dr Kiandee said.
The ministry also estimated a demand of 100,000 metric tonnes to 150,000 metric tonnes of rice during the two-week period, including in the event of panic buying.
The supply can be met with the country’s current rice stock, which stands at about 764,000 metric tonnes, said Dr Kiandee.
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To ensure that there is no disruption in the production and supply of rice, the minister said that MAFI will make sure that paddy planting and mill operations can continue in accordance with the SOPs.
“Rice distribution between wholesalers and retailers will be allowed to operate according to the SOPs, in order to ensure that no area or district will be cut off from supply,” added Dr Kiandee.
OPENING OF SPECIFIC ECONOMIC SECTORS TO ENSURE SUPPLY CHAIN CONTINUITY: FINANCE MINISTRY
In a separate statement on Monday, the Ministry of Finance said the continued opening of specific economic sectors is crucial to safeguard the people's wellbeing and to ensure the supply chain continuity for essential products and services.
Noting the need to contain the COVID-19 pandemic efficiently, the ministry said there is also a need to prevent any disruption to the manufacturing value chain that could threaten the continued production of goods and services feeding into essential industries.
Examples of essential industries are food, health and medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications.
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"Learning from lessons of MCO 1.0, the government has also allowed the related value chain of essential goods, such as packing and labelling, to operate," the statement read.
Economically strategic industries such as the aerospace industry, oil and gas, manufacturing and electrical and electronics (E&E) sectors are also allowed to operate, it added.
The E&E sector represents 40 per cent or RM386 billion (US$93.6 billion) of Malaysia’s annual exports, and approximately 7 per cent of global semiconductor trade, the ministry said.
"For the E&E sector, for example, the government recognises the fact that thousands of components manufactured by this sector enable critical infrastructure globally, such as healthcare and medical devices, water systems and energy grids, as well as transportation and telecommunication networks," the ministry said.