Govt To Implement Programme To Boost Rice Production In Sabah


 
KOTA KINABALU: Rice production in Sabah is set to receive a boost through the Large-Scale Smart Padi Field (SBB Smart) programme implemented by the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry.
Its Deputy Minister Chan Foong Hin said the programme would not only increase the income of farmers but it would also improve the self-sufficiency level (SSL) of rice production in Sabah.
Chan said that the ministry would enter into strategic collaborations with leading companies in the private sector under the SBB Smart programme.
He explained that working together with these companies, local rice farmers would improve their rice yield and quality.
"These companies will be expected to provide machinery such as tractors and technological support such as drones to assist farmers to plant rice according to their work schedule," he said in a statement here on Saturday (Feb 18).
"Through this SBB Smart programme, farmers will be able to manage their padi fields under a more systematic manner," he added.
Chan was on a two-day working visit to the Kota Belud Integrated Agricultural Development Area (IADA) starting on Thursday (Feb 16).
The Deputy Minister visited Sri Dusun, the largest rice factory in Sabah and also Padiberas Nasional Berhad's (Bernas) rice storage warehouse.
Chan said that at national level, a total of 27 companies have participated in the SBB Smart programme in 10 states, with a total of 5,000 farmers participating and more than 11,000ha of padi fields involved.
"In Kota Belud, 40 farmers (in the Jawi-Jawi Scheme) participated and the average rice yield increased from 2.6 metric tonnes per hectare to 4.15 metric tonnes per hectare," he said.
The SBB Smart programme in the Jawi-Jawi Scheme, he said, covers a total area of 126.78ha in 2023, which was an increase of 153.6% compared to an area of 50ha in 2022.
"It is also reported that the income of farmers from rice harvest of around RM2,000 in the previous harvest season has increased to RM6,000 this season.
"Based on current records, Sabah's rice self-sufficiency level as of 2021 was only 22.8%, while the national average is 65%," said Chan.
He said that the government intended to achieve the target of 75% rice self-sufficiency level by 2025 as outlined under the National Agro-Food Policy (DAN) 2.0 and the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).
"We still have a lot of work to do in order for Sabah to achieve the target.
"I hope that the cooperation with leading companies under the SBB Smart programme will be the starting point for a change in the landscape of the local rice industry in Sabah," he said. - Star


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