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Impacts of COVID-19 on the Malaysian fresh tropical fruits supply
chain
(Impak COVID-19 terhadap penghasilan buah-buahan tropikal Malaysia)

Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic crisis had severely affected all economy sectors in Malaysia and is regarded as a global threat. The world economic growth had dampened and it is expected to decline. In Malaysia, the economy was rather slow, at a rate between 0.4 and 2.5% in 2020. The Movement Control Order (MCO) imposed beginning 18th of March 2020 was implemented in six phases to control the outbreak. MCO had restricted economic activities, including the agricultural sector and the tropical fruits industry. This study was conducted to investigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Malaysian tropical fruits supply chain in the domestic and export markets. A mixed-method of quantitative and qualitative approach was used to determine the market trends and identify the distribution and marketing issues and challenges faced by the supply chain players in pre and post crisis conditions. Trade data showed that fruit imports declined after the pandemic, while the export trend increased, but not significantly. Exports to key destinations continued, mainly to Singapore, with exports there doubling from 10.31 Mt/month to 23.2 Mt/month during the crisis. However, exports to other countries declined due to competitive prices and precautionary strategies. In terms of prices at the farm, wholesale and retail levels, analysis indicated an increasing trend, although the rise was not significant. The online marketing method is a new norm for global business operations. Nevertheless, the trend seems to be temporary, as returning to conventional methods are most likely to happen. Several issues and challenges can be highlighted: the disruption in distribution, agricultural inputs and labour; and the lack of demand due to limited business operations and revenue reductions.

Abstrak
Krisis pandemik COVID-19 telah menjejaskan semua sektor ekonomi Malaysia dan negara lain. Pertumbuhan ekonomi global adalah lebih perlahan dan dijangka merosot. Di Malaysia, ekonomi berkembang perlahan pada kadar 0.4 dan 2.5% pada 2020. Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan (PKP) yang bermula pada 18 Mac 2020 dilaksanakan dalam enam fasa bagi mengawal penularan wabak. PKP telah menyekat aktiviti ekonomi termasuk sektor pertanian dan industri buah-buahan tropika. Kajian ini dijalankan untuk mengetahui kesan pandemik COVID-19 terhadap rantaian bekalan buah-buahan tropika di pasaran domestik dan eksport. Kaedah pendekatan campuran kuantitatif dan kualitatif digunakan untuk menentukan arah aliran pasaran, isu pengedaran dan pemasaran serta cabaran yang dihadapi oleh pemain rantaian bekalan sebelum dan selepas krisis. Data perdagangan menunjukkan import buah-buahan merosot selepas wabak, manakala trend eksport meningkat tetapi tidak signifikan. Eksport ke destinasi utama diteruskan terutama ke Singapura dengan peningkatan dua kali ganda dari 10.31 Mt/bulan kepada 23.2 Mt/bulan semasa krisis. Walau bagaimanapun, eksport ke negara lain menurun disebabkan harga yang kompetetif dan strategi berjaga-jaga. Namun, fenomena ini bukan sahaja berlaku semasa pandemik. Kaedah pemasaran dalam talian merupakan norma baharu dalam operasi perniagaan. Sebaliknya, trend itu adalah bersifat sementara, dengan kemungkinan akan kembali kepada kaedah konvensional. Beberapa isu dan cabaran boleh diketengahkan seperti gangguan pengagihan, input pertanian dan buruh serta kekurangan permintaan disebabkan oleh operasi perniagaan yang terhad dan pengurangan hasil.

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