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6 Feb 2021

PASIR MAS: The lack of agricultural land is posing a challenge to the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry (MAFI) in its efforts to increase the country's food supply, said MAFI Deputy Minister II, Datuk Che Abdullah Mat Nawi.

He said the shortage arose due to agricultural land having to be converted into development or industrial land by the state government to meet the needs of the people.

“Converting agricultural land to industrial land is under the affairs of the state government but we (the ministry) understand the issues being raised at this time.

“We cannot deny that people need food, so we have to make an effort to produce it. We also cannot deny that people need housing and such,” he told reporters after attending a MAFI flood relief aid programme at the Rantau Panjang Area Farmers' Organisation office here today.

Earlier, a newspaper reported that about 35,000 hectares of paddy fields in Kedah were “lost” after they were converted into land for other uses, such as infrastructure development, commercial and housing, over the past 10 years.

Elaborating further, Che Abdullah said the state government had to meet the growing population’s need for housing and development.

“Therefore, the ministry is working to implement new agricultural programmes, such as modern agricultural systems, urban agriculture projects and so forth, to compensate for the shortage of converted agricultural land.

“Land is not increasing but people are and the demand for food is getting higher. So, it is a challenging time for the agriculture ministry at this time,” he added. -Bernama


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