Mada says ample supplies of certified padi seeds available

ALOR STAR: The Muda Agricultural Development Authority (Mada) said ample supplies of certified padi seeds will be available through accredited retailers for the next padi farming cycle.

Mada chairman Datuk Dr Ismail Salleh today said 1.5 million 20kg packets of certified padi seeds had been distributed, surpassing the demand of 771,000 20kg packets for the next padi farming cycle in Mada areas.

"Recognising past issues with certified padi seed supply at accredited outlets, we have taken measures.

"At our latest meeting, we secured 1.5 million 20kg bags for Kedah, which we will distribute to four rice mills, including Mada Corp Miller, OBL Maju Miller and Pertama Padi Miller.

"Insyaallah, there shall be no issues with supplies," he said after attending the Mada Hari Raya open house here.

However, he said, padi seed prices had been adjusted to RM54 per 20kg packet to prevent supply disruptions at accredited outlets.

"In the past, the issue wasn't insufficient supply, but rather pricing concerns.

"This time, the government set prices at RM54 and RM58, ensuring a win-win situation for all parties."

He justified the price increase by citing higher padi purchasing prices, which would still result in higher profit margins for padi farmers despite the increased seed costs.

"Although there's a slight increase from RM45 to RM54, which is RM9 more, the increase is based on the current padi purchasing price for seed production.

"The average purchase price for seed production is RM1,850 per metric tonne.

"After processing and factoring in subsidy mechanisms, mills can afford to sell seeds at RM54."

The previous padi farming cycle was derailed as farmers had cried foul about the shortage of subsidised certified padi seeds.

Farmers claimed that while it was difficult to obtain padi seeds approved by the Agriculture Department, it was sold on the black market at more than RM60 per 20kg bag.

Meanwhile, Ismail said most Mada farmers would receive MR297 padi seed varieties due to their excellent performance last season.

"Our farmers have don't have many options as this variety is the most supplied and popular, yielding superb results compared with others.

"So it remains the preferred choice for the majority."

He said there would be enough water supply for padi farming until the end of the next cultivation cycle, despite Muda dam's water levels nearing warning levels.

"Muda serves as a water catchment, supplying water to Pedu dam before reaching the northern, central, and southern channels for irrigation.

"Pedu dam is at about 70 per cent capacity, which should last until the end of the season.

"Muda dam is at about 30 per cent capacity, still sufficient until the end of the farming cycle, especially with rainfall increasing."

It was reported that three dams under Mada's jurisdiction were expected to handle irrigation needs and domestic usage during the El Nino phenomenon.

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