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U8HX.COM官网(www.eth108.vip)_Insight - Food crisis: An unhealthy diet of facts and fear

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,Paying more: People shopping for daily necessities at a wet market. The general price of food is expected to rise higher than the 4% registered in the first four months of the year if supply conditions are not resolved quickly.

WHETHER in peacetime or war, the issues of food security and food sufficiency have always taken centre stage in the affairs of humankind.

Starving an enemy into submission is still a valid war strategy. And a hungry man is an angry one even in peacetime.

Smart governments ensure that the bellies of the bottom 40% or B40 are full lest they take to the streets and start a revolution.

It is no surprise then that there are increasing calls to refocus our efforts towards strengthening food security and self-sufficiency in the face of spiralling prices of the staple foods that end up on our dining tables as the proverbial three square meals of the day.

The rakyat must be assured of a steady supply of good food at affordable prices.

The general price of food is expected to rise higher than the 4% registered in the first four months of the year if supply conditions are not resolved quickly. But global supply chains remain disrupted.

The strain on households is mitigated by subsidies and price controls. But these cannot be long term tools to control prices of imported foodstuffs and farm inputs.

Malaysians are alarmed at the prospect of paying way more for food, having never suffered hunger or deprivation.

The very old will tell you it is horrible. Like during the Japanese occupation of Malaya.

We were heavily dependent on imported rice given that most of the cultivated land was given over to an export crop, rubber. Subsistence farming the old fashioned way took up the rest.

Logic dictated that food for the burgeoning millions of workers in the rubber and tin industry should be produced locally.

But our rice industry was small and inefficient.

Between 1930 and 1940, we produced only 35% of our rice needs.

Efforts were made to step up production but the increase in areas under irrigation failed to even keep pace with population growth.

Back then, the experts said it made sense, as opposed to thinking of long-term food security, to import rice from the rest of Asia, Myanmar included.

Then, fearing war, a stockpile of a year’s supply was built up.

The Japanese conquerors used most of it to feed their soldiers.

Supplies ran low. The humble tapioca was our ironic “just-in-time” food to ward off starvation.

Having learnt our lessons from further food shortages and rationing in the post-1945 era, the agricultural sector of the country steadily rose to become a pillar of the economy contributing a 28.8% share of the gross domestic product by 1970.

As of 2020 the share of the agricultural sector’s contribution stood at 7.4% given the galloping growth of our industrial economy.

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