KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 (Bernama) — The country’s farming and agricultural sectors still need foreign workers, said Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
He said foreign workers were in high demand in the two sectors, especially in fruit plantations.
“If possible, we do not want to, but if we don’t hire foreign workers, the growth of the agriculture sector will be stunted,” he told reporters during the Agro Talk programme by Agrobank here, Thursday.
Ahmad Shabery said although some work could be done using machines, there were certain jobs that were more economical if performed by foreign workers based on discipline and so on.
However, he hoped that the dependency on foreign workers in agriculture and farming sectors would not be permanent.
In another development, Ahmad Shabery assured that rice dumping would not happen after Malaysia became a member state of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
He said among the TPPA member countries, United States and Australia were the only rice producing countries but it was of high-value and only suitable for Japan and China markets.
Meanwhile, he said the final preparations for the MyFarm Outlet programme were being carried out.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, when tabling the recalibration of the 2016 Budget on Jan 28, announced the launching of direct purchasing markets or MyFarm Outlet nationwide.
The first MyFarm Outlet would be operational at Precinct 7, Putrajaya from March, while 10 more would be opened in stages throughout this year.