APs abolished for certain agrofood commodities, still enforced for rice

Rice grains seen in a farmer's hand (Reuters filepix)

Rice grains seen in a farmer's hand (Reuters filepix)

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PUTRAJAYA (May 19): Approved permits (APs) to import certain agro-food commodities such as cabbage, old coconut, chicken (chicken pieces and whole chicken) and liquid milk are no longer required with immediate effect, says the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry (MAFI).

This follows the Cabinet’s decision to abolish the APs, in line with the announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Wednesday (May 18).

MAFI in its statement Thursday (May 19), however, said the AP requirement for rice imports was still in force.

With the abolishment of the APs, MAFI said all companies were allowed to import agro-food commodities subject to the Import Permit (IP) issued by the Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services Department (MAQIS) along with the conditions contained in the permit.

MAFI said although APs were no longer required to bring in agro-food commodities from abroad, importers would still need to have IPs for biosecurity control purposes at the country's entry points.

"This is to ensure biosecurity control and that imported products were free from diseases and pests and obtained from government-recognised production plants," he said.

Ismail Sabri announced on Wednesday that no more APs would be required to import food items with immediate effect, and that the decision was reached during in a Cabinet meeting chaired by him to ensure adequate food supply in the country.

MAFI said it would continue to play an important role in ensuring the viability of the agro-food sector at every level of the food chain and for the people to continue to have an adequate food supply that was safe to consume and nutritious.

At the same time, it said it would also safeguard the welfare of local food producers.