News: Enough food to weather El Nino

The Star, 18 Jun 2014

THERE will be adequate food supply for the people during the anticipated dry season due to the El Nino phenomenon, expected to strike the country in the next few months, says Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman.

He added that measures were in place to prevent food shortages, especially of rice, which was the main staple of the people.

“The country has a stockpile of rice for 45 days, but this amount can be increased to last up to between four and six months,” he said during Question Time.

He said Malaysia’s padi fields are provided with irrigation canals and the ministry will provide tube well facilities so that rice production will not be affected by the dry weather.

On the supply of chicken, Tajuddin said the country had “more than enough” supply for the population.

“An average of 1.7 million chickens are produced daily. Sometimes, this number can go up to two million during festive seasons.

As for fruit, Tajuddin said plantations in the highlands such as Cameron Highlands and Lojing, Kelantan, will not be affected by El Nino.

“There is enough water supply in the highlands and it is unlikely for crops to be affected there,” he said.

Tajuddin was replying to a question by Dr Mansor Abd Rahman (BN – Sik), who asked the ministry to state the initiatives taken by the Government to prevent a food crisis in the country should the El Nino phenomenon arrive.

El Nino begins as a giant pool of warm water swelling in the eastern tropical Pacific that sets off a chain reaction of weather events around the world, some devastating and some beneficial.

The El Nino generally results in lower than average rainfall in Malaysia during the dry South-West Monsoon, which started on May 15 and is expected to continue until September.