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Agriculture ministry sets up taskforce keep local chillies competitive

The Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry has mobilised a task force to address the cost efficiency of red chilli production so that its local variety can remain competitive in the market.

The ministry said that this task force will comprise the Health and International Trade and Industry Ministries so that it could take action on any violation that occurs in the import of red chilli.

These violations are subject to the Plant Quarantine Act 1976 and Food Act 1983, as well as the Countervailing and Anti-Dumping Duties Act 1993, in the event of any harm to the local industry due to the import of red chilli into Malaysia.

The ministry said this in a statement today following an Aug 23 Utusan Malaysia report which focused on the dumping of chilli onto the Malaysian market.

It added that in 2017, the 27,000 tonnes of local red chilli produced could only accommodate 37 percent of the country's demand. The remaining 63 percent had to be imported.

The ministry said the importing of agricultural products from foreign countries was required only through an import permit, a control instrument used by the government to monitor quality, security, disease and pests that could endanger consumers and the country’s agricultural sector.

In this regard, the ministry had enforced the chilli import permit from March last year to control the chilli fly Bactrocera latifrons and the use of pesticide residues, to comply with the Asean Maximum Residue Levels (Asean MRLs) standards.

"From January to July this year, a total 1,092 import permits have been issued to import 31,000 tonnes of red chilli through 16 gazetted countries," it said. 

- Bernama

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