Large-scale padi estates to be developed in Sabah, Sarawak
KUALA LUMPUR - The Rural and Regional Development ministry (KKDW) through FELCRA Berhad will develop large-scale padi estates in Sabah and Sarawak to address the issue of national food security.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also Rural and Regional Development Minister, said it involved the Kota Belud and Kota Marudu parliamentary constituencies in Sabah as well as the Sri Aman parliamentary constituency in Sarawak with an area of between 15,000 and 20,000 hectares.
"We will develop these padi estates without removing the state government's land rights and individual property rights like what was successfully implemented in Pasir Salak known as the Seberang Perak Padi Estate.
"I requested a technical committee at the ministry and state government level to be fully mobilised two days ago to provide some necessary inputs to the ministry to assist Deputy Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof) who is the chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Food Security," he said when winding up debate on the Supply Bill 2023 in the Dewan Rakyat today.
Ahmad Zahid also expressed his appreciation to both state governments for the high commitment shown to enable the initiative to be realised.
In increasing the national food supply, Ahmad Zahid said several related agencies including Felcra and Felda would expand national food supply projects such as chicken and beef farming as well as the Urban Farming Project for fertigation farming involving small and medium entrepreneurs in urban and suburban areas.
Meanwhile, he said the ministry is targeting at least 300 youths from the Orang Asli community to enter the public institutions of higher learning (IPTA) this year.
Last year, a total of 330 Orang Asli successfully entered the universities and it was a good achievement.
To ensure the well-being of the community, Ahmad Zahid said KKDW has formed the Orang Asli Economic Development Secretariat under the Department of Orang Asli Development (JAKOA) and Cameron Highlands MP Datuk Ramli Mohd Nor appointed as chairman.
He hoped that with the increase in the allocation to JAKOA of RM156.6 million this year, the development of the new generation of the Orang Asli community could also be improved.
On liquid rubber or latex, Ahmad Zahid said the country still imports 80 per cent of the material from abroad with a value of almost RM3 billion.
"We have taken several measures to add 15 more of latex production depots to the 51 we currently have to increase latex production and reduce imports," he said.
He said the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) also focused on planting and maintenance, fertilisation, use of latex stimulants, tapping and marketing.
For the collection of latex produce, Ahmad Zahid said an allocation of RM750,000 was provided and expected to benefit 1,500 smallholders - BERNAMA