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Food Security in Malaysia beyond Pandemic

The recent Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the true colours of Malaysia’s food security status. The series of prolonged Movement Control Orders (MCOs) full or partial lockdowns brought damaging impact to the economy in terms of slow growth, loss of jobs and hence income to the people. Food insecurity situation is severely disproportional among the badly hit urban poor compared to the other low income earners. This implies the country’s food system is not resilient enough to absorb deficit shock and tends to victimise the marginalised. WHO (World Health Organisation) warns that coronavirus vaccine alone may not end pandemic and the society cannot go back to the way things were”. This would mean that the society has to live with the new “normal” for a long time until herd immunity is achieved. Against this backdrop, food insecurity needs to be addressed urgently to avoid hardship among the poor and future losses of quality human resources.

To reset the country’s future food security agenda, its framework has to be understood in the right perspective. According to the World Food Summit in 1996, “food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”. This definition has been the framework of reference on food security policy worldwide. The stated framework defines four main dimensions of food security namely; food availability, accessibility and utilisation and stability of the three dimensions

Food availability refers to the “supply side” of the food security. The determinants of food supply are: food production, stock levels of food and trading of food. 

 

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This article was written by Datin Paduka Dr. Fatimah Mohamed Arshad, Amal Putra, Institute of Tropical Agriculture and Food Security, UPM.

Date of Input: 30/06/2022 | Updated: 15/07/2022 | hafzaini

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