Mada encourages farmers to venture into large scale padi cultivation
ALOR SETAR - The Muda Agricultural Development Authority (Mada) is encouraging farmers to grow padi through the Large-Scale Padi Planting (PPSB) and SMART Large-Scale Padi Field (SMART SBB) programmes in dealing with economic challenges.
Its chairman Datuk Dr Ismail Salleh said the PPSB and SMART SBB programmes are seen to be able to help boost padi yield through centralised management to manage large scale projects which will thereby help increase farmers' income.
He said the implementation of the programmes could improve the efficiency of farm management and overcome the issue of uneconomical small farms as well as resolve the problem of agricultural labour shortage due to ageing farmer population.
"The programmes will also see the introduction of new technologies in the agricultural field and financing facilities,” he said adding that infrastructure density at the farm level also plays a role in sustainable rice production.
"Efficiency of water management system as well as access to logistics facilities such as roads and farm crossings can ensure the quality of the padi," he said in an interview with Bernama at Mada Headquarters, Ampang Jajar, here, recently.
Dr Ismail said Mada will increase the infrastructure density from 18 metres to 30 metres per hectare with the development of tertiary irrigation systems through the Agricultural Drive Project (PPP).
In addition, he said farmers are also encouraged to be involved in entrepreneurship such as food processing, livestock breeding, cultivation of secondary crops and agrotourism as an additional source of income to cope with the current economic uncertainty.
Meanwhile, he said Mada lauds the government's proposal through the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry to plant padi five times every two years to raise output as well as the country's rice self-sufficiency level (SSL).
"Mada has carried out the planting of padi five times within a two-year period in the Muda area since 2016. Until today it is being implemented over an area of 213.99 hectares involving 165 farmers," he said.
Dr Ismail said Mada found that the system could be implemented over 30,000 hectares of padi fields in the Muda area in stages, with the improvement of tertiary irrigation and infrastructure systems.
He said it was important to have the appropriate technology and in selecting padi varieties with short maturity duration in producing padi five times during the two-year period.
In the meantime, Dr Ismail said Mada has conducted training on padi cultivation and use of modern technology to improve skills among farmers in the Muda area and so far 57,635 farmers have been trained.
"Mada has transformed to become the country's rice industry value chain that has all the requirements including seed production, use of high technology, fertiliser and rice mill factories,” he said.
The Muda area has been the largest rice granary in Malaysia which covers an area of 130,282 hectares, of which 100,685 hectares are located in Kedah and Perlis. - BERNAMA