Malaysians buy RM3.2bn (US$744m) worth of imported fruits and vegetables each year even though domestic supplies are readily available, reports Malaysian news site thestar.com.
Malaysia imported RM884m (US$200m) worth of tropical fruit and veg, and RM2.34bn (US$544m) worth of temperate produce, despite Malaysia being 89.9 per cent self-sufficient in fresh produce production, deputy agriculture and agro-based industry minister Datuk Tajudin Abdul Rahman told the site yesterday (23 November).
Tajudin ackowledged that the country is forced to import certain vegetables, such as large onions from China, dry chillies from India, and sawi from Indonesia. "These vegetables cannot be grown locally due to soil condition and climate," he said.
To further boost local vegetable production, Tajudin said the government is looking at using some 120,000ha of idle land for domestic cultivation.
He said the idle land was identified in a recent survey, which belonged to the respective state governments and private individuals.