TANAH RATA: The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry wants the Pahang government to resolve problems relating to land ownership by farmers in Cameron Highlands expeditiously.
Its deputy minister Sim Tze Tzin said the issue had gone on for far too long which hindered the agriculture sector in the highlands from progressing faster.
“Almost 80% of the 2,000 farmers (in the highlands) till their land with Temporary Occupation Licence (TOL) status which requires them to renew their licences each year.
“Their fate is unpredictable, they never know whether their TOL will be renewed or not. This is a stumbling block for them to invest high-tech equipment to raise productivity and also causes the youths here to migrate to urban areas in search of jobs,“ he told a press conference here today.
He urged the Pahang government to provide answers regarding the matter.
“They should consider changing the status to leasehold. Time and again we have raised this matter but so far there has been no positive outcome,“ he said.
Meanwhile, Cameron Highlands Vegetable Farmers Organisation secretary Chay Ee Mong said the organisation had submitted an appeal on this to the state government on Jan 11.
“We plead that the TOL problem be resolved as many of the farmers have been operating their farms for more than 10 years. We hope we can be given 30-year leases so that the land can be used as collateral to get loans.
“The water tariff for farmers was also raised which is an added burden for us,“ he said. — Bernama