100pc self-sufficiency in rice production by 2020

rice productionsAlor Setar: The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry wants the country to achieve a 100 per cent self-sufficiency level (SSL) in padi production by 2020, its Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.

Towards this end, he said, the Government would spend RM2.2 billion out of the total RM6 billion allocated to the Ministry this year to help padi farmers to increase their crop yield.

He said various strategies and projects had been planned to achieve the target, including upgrading of the irrigation system in the Mada areas.

He said this when opening the Muda Agricultural Development Authority (Mada) Farmers’ Convention and launching of Mada Corporate Plan.

Ismail Sabri said the country imported about 900,000 metric tonne of rice every year and the amount did not include about one million tonnes which was smuggled into the country.

In an effort to achieve the 100 per cent SSL, he said farmers had to increase their crop yield to seven tonnes per hectare from the current six tonnes per hectare.

At the event, Ismail Sabri also witnessed the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Mada and Bayer Co (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd or use of the company’s technology to increase padi yield in Mada areas.

Meanwhile, in PADANG BESAR, the Perlis government has taken exclusive ownership of ‘Harumanis’, the famous mango of the State.

The Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) has awarded the State government the exclusive right, said Perlis Border Security and Agriculture Committee chairman Ahmad Bakri Datuk Ali.

Efforts would be stepped up to increase production of the ‘Harumanis’ mango to meet rising demand, he told reporters after launching a mango rehabilitation project in Kampung Udoh Bilal near here.

The project is being implemented by the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi), which has been given a RM600,000 grant by the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry to help cultivators of the ‘Harumanis’ mango in Perlis.

Ahmad Bakri said he hoped that Mardi would undertake research to improve the quality of the mango and do bud grafting to expedite fruiting.

He said the State government target to cultivate the mango on 1,000 hectares by the end of this year could be achieved because 987 hectares were under the crop now, though only 635 hectares were producing yield.

On a complaint that the ‘Harumanis’ mango was sold for RM60 per kg in Permatang Pauh during the parliamentary by-election recently, he said traders could not be stopped from setting the price so long as there was demand.

“The State government has set up a monitoring committee to curb cheating by passing off other mangoes as the Harumanis,” he said.

Ahmad Bakri advised the people to buy the fruit directly from the orchards or at stalls run by the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama).

Mardi Director-General Datuk Dr Sharif Haron said the agency was committed to coming up with the best Harumanis mango and educating farmers to engage in good agricultural practices. – Bernama

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