Agriculture and Food Security Ministry to expand Smart SBB Mini Sekinchan-Bernas Programme
GEORGE TOWN - The Agriculture and Food Security Ministry (KPKM) is confident that the implementation of the Smart SSB Mini Sekinchan-Bernas Programme can boost local rice production and reduce imports.
Its minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu said the programme was able to increase rice production to between seven tonnes to 10 tonnes per hectare for each harvest compared to around five tonnes before.
"The pilot project has been carried out in Perlis involving an area of more than 100 hectares since May and it is expected that harvesting will begin on September 2. Based on monitoring and inspection, we found that they are growing well and of good quality like in Sekinchan, Selangor.
"Perhaps we can get a yield of up to 10 tonnes per hectare there (Perlis), this can not only increase the income of padi farmers but also boost our rice production and at the same time reduce imports, and that is what we are aiming for,” he said.
He was speaking to reporters after officiating the Jualan Agro Madani Tanjung programme at the Prangin Mall grounds. Also present was Tanjung MP Lim Hui Ying, who is also Deputy Education Minister.
Mohamad said KPKM plans to expand the programme to several other states, namely Kedah, Terengganu, Kelantan and Pahang in the near future.
He said the programme involves smart farming with the use of modern equipment to increase the quantity and quality of rice yield.
The smart agriculture approach also involves the use of a more organised work schedule, supplementary fertilisers and a more accurate schedule of fertiliser and pesticide application to ensure optimum padi planting efficacy.
"The initiative is a collaboration driven by Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) which manages the project and acts as a service provider as well as supervises of the use of fertilisers and pesticides according to contract farming with the rice farmers involved.
"We also hope that the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) can produce more padi varieties to be used through the programme,” he said.- BERNAMA