LPP chairman to govt: Review certified padi seeds quota for private producers

ALOR STAR: The government has been urged to review the quota for certified padi seeds production awarded to the private sector amidst the supply crisis which he said was derailing the current padi planting cycle.

The national Farmers Organisation Authority (LPP) chairman Datuk Mahfuz Omar said the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry should adjust the quota distribution, in line with the maximum production capacity of four government agencies involved in the supply chain.

Mahfuz said currently, there were 12 producers awarded with the quota to produce an accumulated 72,000 metric tonnes of certified padi seeds nationwide, with eight of them from the private sector.

"There are four government agencies that are granted quota to produce certified padi seeds namely PPK (Area Farmers Organisation) Lahar Bubu in Penang, MadaCorp, Felcra Plantation and Kemudu Agriculture Development Authority (Kada).

"Of the four, only PPK Lahar Bubu is awarded with quote that meets its maximum capacity of 5,000 metric tonnes, while the other three are getting quota lower than their full capacity," he said in a joint press conference with Muda Agriculture Development Authority (Mada) chairman Datuk Dr Ismail Salleh here today.

Mahfuz pointed out that it would be illogical for the government not to make full use of the agencies' capabilities after spending between RM9 million and RM10 million to upgrade padi seeds production capacity in each of the agency.

"The accumulated quota awarded to the four government agencies is just 15,500 metric tonnes or 22 per cent of the total 72,000 metric tonnes approved by the ministry.

"The rest of the quota was granted to the private padi seeds producers. This is illogical because as for now, only PPK Lahar Bubu being awarded its full capacity of 5,000 metric tonnes.

"The other agencies, Kada, Felcra Plantation and MadaCorp were only granted a quota of 1,700; 1,800 and 7,000 metric tonnes while each of the agencies has a maximum capacity of 5,000; 6,000 and 12,000 metric tonnes respectively," he said.

For comparison, Mahfuz said several private padi seeds producers were awarded with up to 9,000 metric tonnes and 14,000 metric tonnes.

Mahfuz added that with the completion of new padi seeds production plant under the agencies namely in Kubur Panjang, Pendang; Parit Buntar, Perak and Sungai Burong in Selangor, the agencies accumulated maximum capacity would increase by up to 48,000 metric tonnes by 2025.

He also urged the government to reappoint the National Farmers Organisation (Nafas) as the sole agent to distribute certified padi seeds to farmers in the country.

"If the government agrees to this, Nafas will be able to ship certified padi seeds directly to PPK outlets.

"Hence we will be able to resolve issue concerning the sale of the padi seeds at beyond the ceiling price set by the government," he said.

Dr Ismail echoed the same sentiment. He stressed that the government reduce dependency on private producers judging by the current certified padi seeds supply shortage.

"The agencies are committed to assist the government towards achieving food security. It is obvious that the private producers are being so arrogance by refusing to cooperate with the government.

"That is why we are asking for the ministry to make sure this will not recur in future," he said.

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