ALOR SETAR: Farmers are likely to benefit from profit earned by Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) or any other parties that will be granted a rice Permit Import (AP) as Bernas current contract expires on January 2021.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub said yesterday his ministry had planned to allocate part of the profit into the farmers’ investment fund for their welfare including the fishermen.
“A part of the profit will be channelled into the investment fund, which will be distributed back to the farmers. Maybe a fund for the welfare of the children of farmers and fishermen to re-use part of the profit later.
He said after 60 years of independence, the lower-level farmers have never tasted the profit from the country’s paddy and rice industry.
Salahuddin said this after the launch of the National Padi Convention 2019, which was officiated by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Also present was Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Tun Dr Mahathir.
Salahuddin said the ministry welcomed any parties interested to obtain the AP contract to replace Bernas, by submitting their request for proposal for the ministry’s review.
“The ministry will make a decision within six months from now to see who meets the criteria and can take responsibility for the overall food safety aspect. Thus far, we have yet to receive any proposals,” he explained.
He pointed out that the ministry would make an assessment as soon as possible whether to extend the Bernas contract or to give it to a more qualified stakeholder in the industry.
Salahuddin stressed that the contract was not merely revolved around rice import activities and making profit, as it would involve the entire value chain of the country’s food security, apart from the farmers’ well-being that must be given due attention. — Bernama