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 Sabah exploring rice cultivation methods
Published on: Tuesday, November 28, 2023
By: Anthea Peter
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 Sabah exploring rice cultivation methods
Jeffrey said the Federal Agriculture and Food Security Ministry has evaluated that Sabah would be able to export rice if it could increase its production to seven tonnes per hectare from the current 3.4 tonnes. - Bernama pic for illustration only
Kota Kinabalu: The State Government is exploring various methods of rice cultivation in efforts to expand Sabah’s rice yield, said State Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Industry Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

He said these include attempting to cultivate rice in new locations, as well as salt water padi cultivation in the State’s East Coast, on top of increasing dry padi (hill padi) cultivation.

With Sabah’s rice self-sufficiency level (SSL) still remaining low at 22 to 23 per cent, Jeffrey said the State Government would also work with Padiberas Nasional Berhad (Bernas) to ensure the supply of rice is sufficient. 

“Although the State allows rice imports from Thailand, Vietnam and India, Sabah’s rice supply is still insufficient,” said Jeffrey, who is also Deputy Chief Minister I. 

He was responding to a supplementary question by Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Senallang) during question time at the State Legislative Assembly sitting. 

Jeffrey said the Federal Agriculture and Food Security Ministry has evaluated that Sabah would be able to export rice if it could increase its production to seven tonnes per hectare from the current 3.4 tonnes.

“We tried (to cultivate rice) in a few locations, one of them is Apin-Apin, Keningau. We cultivated rice with new seeds and managed to yield seven tonnes per hectare. 

“We will expand this. We have tried this in Kota Belud and will try it in Kota Marudu. If the yield is consistent, we will expand it to the whole of Sabah,” he said. 

He added there would also be focus on increasing hill padi cultivation, as it is more lucrative for farmers due to its higher prices. 

“In fact, there is an increase of hill padi production now, which perhaps can be for export and commercial purposes.

“We are also trying to plant padi in salt water around the East Coast and it’s successful. We can continue this in other salt water areas if the results are consistent,” he said. 

He added that the State Government is also urging government-linked companies (GLCs) to set aside a certain portion of their land for agriculture development. 

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