Existing padi mechanism to be improved, says Mat Sabu

PUTRAJAYA: The Agriculture and Food Security Ministry will improve and enhance the existing padi mechanism in the country to accelerate local production and reduce dependency on imports.

Its minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu said the initiative, known as Gelombang Padi (Padi Wave) will also outline new directions for the padi industry in the country.

Mohamad added that the initiative will be carried out as Malaysia had to import about 1.1 million metric tonnes of rice last year to compensate for the shortage of rice in 2022.

"The country produced a total of 1.6 million metric tonnes of rice in 2022, meeting only 62.6 per cent of the national demand.

"Consequently, Malaysia had to import about 1.1 million metric tonnes of rice to compensate for the shortage (in 2022)," he said in his speech during the ministry's 2024 new year's mandate, today.

Mohamad added that the initiative would also act as a game-changer that could transform the country's rice and padi industry.

"I hope these initiatives will elevate the country's rice and padi industry to a more efficient and resilient level, thereby increasing the income of food producers along the food chain."

At the same time, he added that the ministry will also implement 12 programmes under the Padi Wave initiative, namely introducing a new policy on the rice seed initiative; strengthening the supply of agricultural inputs; enhancement of water management in rice cultivation areas; rehabilitation and development of fallow land areas; expanding the implementation of the Large-Scale Smart Padi Field (SMART SBB) project similar to Sekinchan; and increasing the area for the implementation of a programme involving 3,000 ha gradually in Agricultural Development Authority area.

At the same time, other programmes include the introduction of online padi purchase payment methods to farmers nationwide to reduce the role of middlemen; reducing post-harvest losses; developing an integrated system that consolidates all information related to the rice and padi industry; developing a soil profiling system based on Site-Specific Nutrient Management for padi areas; strengthening 'padi huma', which is grown on hilly areas in Sabah and Sarawak by providing funds for agricultural input supply; and increasing yield productivity by expanding new padi areas.

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