No rain = higher prices for food

April 26, 2016

Singapore imports most of its vegetables, fruits, poultry and hen eggs from its neighbour, Malaysia. In 2015, official figures show Singapore imported 41 per cent, or 224,800 tonnes, of its vegetables from Malaysia. Singapore also imported 36 per cent of its fruit supply from Malaysia last year.

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‘The drought is very very serious in Malaysia. Having said that, I don’t believe for one moment the decision and policy makers really appreciate how serious the problem actually is and can be…you see there has been hardly any preparation at the grass root level to mitigate the effects of a prolonged drought – as it stands today, the first monsoon of 2016 has either failed to materialize or has been delayed. Hence rice planting has already been rolled back in most of the northern rice belt regions in Malaysia…for how long no one really knows. Now there is talk of the drought dragging on till September 2016. All this would mean there will be a significantly shortfall in yield and it’s very likely this will all translate into increased food prices for consumers in Singapore. Not only greens will be affected, but livestock as well. As when there is no rain, the rivers, reservoirs and tributaries all dry up – the entire ecology is affected.

The problem in Malaysia is many of the policy makers don’t ever believe in forward planning – they much prefer to play the blame game whenever things don’t go to plan. Or try to deflect blame here and there and anywhere else except do that which is most needful – work to formulate a solution.

So it’s fair to say the problem will be very serious.’

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