KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) has set up a Civil Defence Emergency Response Team (CDERT) today to increase staff awareness and readiness for disasters, especially in light of the ongoing Northeast Monsoon season.

FAMA director-general Datuk Zainal Abidin Yang Razalli officiated the team's establishment today, which is in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (Sendai Framework) that emphasises that disaster risk mitigation is a shared responsibility, and inculcates a culture of integrated, planned and continuous training.

To that end, FAMA has been appointed and given the responsibility to provide food kits to the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) that will be distributed throughout the country in the event of a disaster.

"On this basis, FAMA staff need to be trained and given skills to assist relevant departments and agencies in channeling aid and providing emergency assistance to affected target groups.

"This training is also an element that can improve the delivery quality regarding FAMA's role as the implementing agency to strengthen food security during crises and disasters," the statement read.

FAMA CDERT will be conducted in series of collaborations with the Civil Defence Force (APM), beginning with the first series of basic training involving 40 FAMA staff that started on Nov 29 and ended today at the FAMA Training Institute, Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan.

The statement said FAMA is aiming to recruit 1,000 staff to join the team by 2023.

"FAMA is also always ready to provide full cooperation to APM for any disaster mission by providing FAMA services and facilities and welcome calls from APM if there are FAMA staff eligible to participate in disaster missions to apply the knowledge and training gained," the statement read.

At the team's launch today, Zainal Abidin was made an honorary APM officer with the rank of Assistant Honorary Commissioner (PA).