Apr 18, 2008

Food as Strategic Asset and / or Business

Food, the basis in Maslow's hierarchy, the basic need of mankind. Do you know that some of Malaysia's billionaire are in food business; let see some example

Sugar = Tan Sri Robert Kuok
Flour = Tan Sri Mokhtar Al Bukhory
Rice and Bread = Bernas (Tans Sri Mokhtar & Datuk Shahidan Kassim - Bernas /Gardenia)

Other commodity such as Palm Oil Plantations has provided handsome dividend to those who invest and popular / the main core business with some of the blue chip company such Guthrie, IOI group, PPB groups. These company has been in the radar for institutional investment such as from PNB and EPF.

As in smaller business perspective, Food is always associated and perceived as the easiest business to handle while providing up to 300% ROI by opening a catering or restaurant entity

Most of the these basic commodity are under controlled; in term of economics - Monopoly or oligopoly (very few players in strategic business)

the recent hike in worldwide market of Rice and Flour are largely blamed on shifting of weather - La Nina or El Nino, similar concepts of blaming god..the easiest way out indeed. But one need to understand the concept of everything require fossil fuel; so it could be the petroleum as the main culprit for the recent commodity / basic food hikes.

Back to monopoly; since the government has given the AP's (approved permit: similar to a licence; same process of bringing imported cars in Malaysia) to very selected few, perhaps this the time Malaysian Govt showing some genuine effort to Rakyat in solving the issue of inflation, by offering a strict controlled of price.. sugar, rice, flour, milk for a start as the inflation will make every single Rakyat suffer; and up to extend another "French Revolution". All due to the basic again; Food

Malaysian, may be the most discipline people on earth; in term of being patience of everything.. but not towards food!!!!

Looking at the current management of Malaysia under Pak Lah, I doubt, since he is more business oriented than Rakyat oriented, meaning he will give everything businessmen wanted than taking care the Rakyat.

Back to those billionaire I mentioned, perhaps this is time some of them, doing the national duties, offering some discount while gaining the profit a bit less than expected, not to the extend losing the business

I realize, things have written here is bit futuristic, while Malaysia have only 2-3week stockpile of rice, soon, the it will require to be replenish.. then those commodity have to be bought at the current price, obviously at higher price and these price will be absorb by the customer, like it or not.

Take for example, the price of bread has been increased to 20-50cents recently without a single objection or statement from Minister in-charge - Shahrir Samad

I thought after the recent elections, at least the govt are learning something, but Paklah being Paklah... soon, food will be used as the strategic weapons to denied him permanently as PM of Malaysia
Shall I keep on dreaming?
FYI - "french revolution" among other was started due to difficulty of people to get piece of bread, which the staple food there, whereas Rice is the staple of Malaysian and many parts of Asia. Could the price hike and shortage of rice lead to another revolution? One need to re-look the history.