If you travel along Padawan, Serian, Bau and Lundu road, you will see something changed at Black Pepper, Cocoa and Rubber Three farm. People are no more working at that farm as the downfall of the commodity price in the global market. The black pepper cultivating cost is now higher that it price in the market. 50kg of fertilizer is now up to RM 200.00 per sack and the price of herbicides and pesticides are even worst.
The small farmers now have to abandon their farm, the place where they get a little money. Black pepper is now at about RM 3.50 per kg and the price of oil palm is now RM 200.00 per ton compare to RM 700.00 few years. It’s economic recession and everyone is restraining their productivity as the market demand on CPO, Rubber, Black Pepper, and Cocoa are declining.
The alternative way to earn a little bit of money is by selling farm product at Sunday market which is two days a week. Last night I visited my fellow friends at Batu Kawa community market. I saw cucumbers, sour brinjals, local barley, baby bamboo, tapioca, sweet pumpkins displayed for the walking customers.
Life changed tremendously during economic recession and so to the lifestyle. Salary has been cut down due to slow cash flow. Overtime is no more pay as production must be at optimum level. The government servant works as usual but the dept is increasing as the price of good is rising up. Fortunately, the Minister is convincing the people that Malaysia is not affected by the global economic recession as the government is wise enough and ready at any time. Ringgit was decided not to be floated as USD is loosing it value. Hopefully, the government has plenty of reserve in term of gold and not currency.
The Bidayuh will celebrate Christmas in a moderate way this year. The only good thing to hear is that there is no rising price of good before Christmas and the disaster strike only before Raya and Gong Xi Fa Cai. This including meat, poultry, vegetable and flour and other good. They have no commercial crops and commodity to sell but at least they have the spirit of gratitude and self-contain. Those who works at peninsular and Sabah will be back on Christmas with different feeling as money is no more valuable though the wages is much bigger than in Sarawak.
My advice is that, be prepare for the next worst economic recession. Spend less than what you earn and save money for the next school term. Merry Christmas in advance.