(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia will offer government-backed insurance plans to help compensate farmers for losses after natural disasters, as part of measures to strengthen food security.

The Agro-Food Takaful Insurance Scheme will be launched through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries and will initially be offered to the nation’s 189,500 rice farmers, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.

The insurance cover will be expanded in stages to sectors including fisheries and other sub-sectors of the food industry, he said at the launch of the 2022 Malaysian Agriculture, Horticulture and Agro Tourism Exhibition on Saturday.

Malaysia, a net food importer, is taking steps to enhance domestic supplies of grains and poultry as nations around the world battle rising food costs amid disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Malaysia remains among countries without crop insurance unlike neighbors including China and Indonesia, state news agency Bernama reported in July, citing Agriculture Minister Ronald Kiandee.

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