KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Durian & Tropical Fruit Planters Association (MaSDa) express its appreciation on the announcement by the State Government in response to the hardship being faced by agro-entrepreneurs in the small medium industry in agriculture in view of the Movement Restriction Order (MRO) to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The recent MRO announced by the Prime Minister of Malaysia effective 18 March 2020 until 14th April 2020 had caught many farmers by surprise causing financial dilemma and for some due to the fruits season, have suffered losses as they are unable to sell their agriculture produce.
The quick action by the Government especially in providing cash of RM300 one-off aid for planters under B40 Category will aid them in their cash flow to purchase essential food for the families.
Further, the special loan package at 2% interest by Sabah Credit is a good incentive to encourage more agro-entrepreneurs to venture into agriculture, aquaculture and livestock sector.
The President of MaSDa, Mr Duane Evans said most of MaSDa members are fruits planters in several districts in Sabah mostly in Tenom and Keningau are affected by the MRO due to the restricted movement and that their fruits supplies could not be sold outside of Sabah.
For example Brunei has already closed their immigration and disallowed people from entering their country.
Further, Mr Duane Evans would like to thank Datuk Junz Wong, the Sabah Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Government for making the clarification that agricultural produce including fruits can be transported from district to district to ensure the continuous fruits supply for Sabahans.
However, MaSDa members hope that the procedure in obtaining the permit to travel could be simplified for their members subject to the proper precautions being taken to ensure all fruits are safe and that their workers are not exposed to C-19.
According to a MaSDa member, Mr Lim Vui Chen, he has to go to a local clinic to get health clearance before proceeding to the District Office to get a limited time travelling permit for each time of him having to travel from Tenom to Kota Kinabalu to transport his farm fruits produce.
Mr Lim hope that such procedure could be simplified otherwise it is time consuming and exhausting for him to repeat the process of applying such travelling permit.