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Sarawak earmarks RM1bil for cultivation of padi to rival Kedah
Published on: Tuesday, June 11, 2024
By: FMT
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Sarawak earmarks RM1bil for cultivation of padi to rival Kedah
Premier Abang Johari Openg says Sarawak will need to invest about RM1 billion in drainage and irrigation, just like Kedah. (Bernama pic)
PETALING JAYA: The Sarawak government has earmarked RM1 billion to develop 10,000ha in Sri Aman for padi cultivation to rival Kedah as Malaysia’s rice bowl, says premier Abang Johari Openg.

“The allocation will be mainly for the construction of drainage and irrigation in Stumbin, Lingga and Tanjung Bijat (in Sri Aman),” he said at the opening of the Regional Conference on Agrobiodiversity Conservation and Sustainability Utilisation 2024 in Kuching today.

He was quoted by The Malay Mail as saying that RM500 million would be allocated in 2025 and a similar amount the following year.

Abang Johari told reporters later he had requested, through agriculture and food security minister Mohamad Sabu, funds to develop the 10,000ha of padi land.

“I briefed him on what we wanted to do with the padi production, and then we compared Stumbin, Lingga and Tanjung Bijat with the padi cultivation areas in Kedah.

“The areas, in terms of acreage, are more or less the same,” he said.

He said investment in Kedah’s drainage and irrigation for padi cultivation costs about RM1 billion, and a similar amount would be required in Stumbin, Lingga and Tanjung Bijat.

“As the amount required is quite huge, Mohamad told me he would convey the request to Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim,” he said.

Abang Johari said Sarawak’s food industries, commodities and regional development minister Stephen Rundi Utom would follow up on this.

“If the federal government agrees to give RM500 million, the state government will allocate a similar amount.

“If it is RM1 billion, we will also give a matching allocation of RM1 billion,” he saidi.

He said Stephen’s ministry was looking at new technology to increase rice production.

“Our target is to produce 250,000 tonnes of rice a year if all the areas earmarked for padi cultivation are fully developed.

“If we have sufficient production of rice, (rice importer) Bernas will become irrelevant. Instead, we may become rice exporters,” he said.

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