RM44m allocated for Sabah, Sarawak hill paddy farmers: Salahuddin

13 Jun 2019 / 20:28 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: PUTRAJAYA: The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry has approved RM44 million for a subsidised fertilizer and poison for hill paddy (padi huma) farmers

Hill paddy is grown on mountains and hills, and this subsidy will benefit about 56,446 farmers in Sabah and Sarawak.

Its minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub said the scheme was introduced in 2015 to assist the farmers in East Malaysia.

He said the scheme also successfully allowed paddy farms to increase their yield from 1.0 metric tonne to 2.5 metric tonnes per ha.

“This increased their income by RM180 to RM 700 per month,“ he said in a news conference held here today.

He added that a meeting will be held soon with non-governmental organisations and experts in the paddy industry.

This follows the prime minister’s announcement that the industry is to be prioritised.

“We’ve received constructive comments and we are open to further discussions on the matter. Our ministry and two ministries, the Economic Affairs and Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs ministries, are tasked by the prime minister to come out with a plan to improve the livelihood of farmers.

“We must look at the big picture rather than piecemeal. The paper is expected to be presented in the next meeting,“ he said.

He added that currently, farmers own farms that is the size of 2ha, which results in low income.

In order to modernise the paddy farming sector, the ministry is reviewing several plans to consolidate paddy farms, such as the ones under Felcra.

“For instance, if we can give 50ha to a farmer and the private sector 1,000ha then the industry can move forward,“ he said.

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