Farmers in Johor expect fairer land deals from new government

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A NEW Johor government must allocate farmland equally to all and help recruit more workers, farmers’ representatives have said.

The chairman of the Malaysian Federation of Vegetable Growers Associations, Lim Ser Kwee, said farmers in Johor desperately needed more farmland but could not ask for more.

This problem has not been solved despite many changes of government, he said.

“Politicians tend to say something but do something else and in the end it’s the farmers who suffer,” Lim told The Malaysian Insight.

Johor’s land is ripe for cultivation, but those who want it for agriculture haven’t been able to get anything, Lim said.

Instead, the land has been granted to several cronies who are using it for other developments, he said.

“Some farmers could not ask for long-term use and buy modern machinery for planting.”

Besides the lack of land, farmers also suffer from a lack of foreign labor.

Lim, who is from Batu Pahat, said when vegetable prices rose last year the government took steps to control them, but when prices fell and farmers lost money , the government did not provide any subsidies.

“Vegetable prices fluctuate depending on the weather. When it’s good, production is high, prices are low. When production is low, that’s when prices go up.

“I hope consumers understand that,” Lim said.

Lim said that now that Russia has invaded Ukraine, he expects fertilizer prices that have increased by around 100% due to the pandemic to become more expensive.

“Russia and Ukraine export 40% of the world’s fertilizers. Prices are expected to rise soon. »

The challenge for farmers now is the continued rise in vegetable prices, he added.

Political stability

Johor Fruit Farmers Association chairman Alvin Lo said he hoped for five years of political stability.

The election, he said, slowed coordination between farmers and government offices, as some official functions could not be carried out, Lo said.

“Fruits and vegetables are fresh products. When there is a change of government, the official procedures stop.

“Business cannot resume until a month later and this delay is costing us dearly.

Lo said farmers hope for a government that serves them.

“We fear this will lead to a general election. Will we ever have stability?

If politicians really cared about people’s welfare, they would help them after the election, he said.

“The voters are lively. If you work hard, people will give you a chance to win this election.

The Batu Pahat native said the people of Johor are worried about the prospects of the future generation.

According to data from Johor State Department of Agriculture, in 2020, the state’s vegetable production was 198,470 metric tons while there were 567,300 metric tons of fruits.

This makes the state the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables, behind Cameron Highlands.

According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries, Johor has 51.1% agricultural land, of which 63.9% is for oil palm and rubber plantations. – March 5, 2022.

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