KEPALA BATAS: Water shortage in paddy fields in Seberang Prai Utara (SPU) district due to drought has prompted Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Deputy Minister Sim Tze Tzin to go down to the ground to see the real situation faced by farmers there.
Sim said the Ministry viewed the problem seriously and was making every effort to find the most effective solution to help the affected farmers.
“This is a serious and critical situation for farmers affected by the drought-stricken paddy crop earlier in the month. For that reason I decided to make an emergency visit to check and find a better solution to solve this problem,” he told reporters when inspecting the Pinang Tunggal pump house, here yesterday.
It is understood that the affected area covers 1,164 hectares involving 827 farmers in the Seberang Prai Utara area including Paya Keladi, Pinang Tunggal and Pantai Kamloon.
Sim said the current water supply was still adequate, but it has directed the Penang Department of Agriculture, Integrated Agricultural Development Area of Penang (IADA) and the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) to move all the mobile pump assets to the affected area to address the problem.
“The short-term action will add 34 pumps from all the departments such as the Department of Agriculture, IADA and Mardi to the affected areas. In fact, the Penang Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) also helped by providing eight large pumps to pump water into the fields,” he said.
Sim also assured the farmers facing water shortage in the area that they would receive adequate protection from the government.
He also reminded farmers to use their water supply wisely to avoid ongoing water problems.
Meanwhile, a farmer, Ahmad Shukri Saad, 47, said he was relieved to see government departments and agencies now working hard to resolve the problems facing the farmers. — Bernama