Mada welcomes state govt's plans to boost local rice industry

ALOR STAR: The Muda Agriculture Development Authority (Mada) has welcomed the state government's proposal to cultivate hill padi (padi huma) as an alternative to enhance the local white rice supply.

Mada chairman Datuk Dr Ismail Salleh said the proposal was regarded as a complimentary effort to the current padi industry in Mada's territory.

"I believe the state government's aspiration should be endorsed. It complements the entire rice and padi industry, meaning we're not competing, but rather complementing each other.

"I welcome and propose the exploration of more potential areas to cultivate hill padi, such as in Sarawak, where they produce good quality rice in highland areas," he said during a press conference today.

He also said the prices for hill padi rice could be significantly reduced with the introduction of more hill padi seed varieties.

"If it were up to me, I would strive to ensure that the costs for producing hill padi rice are further reduced because currently, the prices are steep, at RM4 per kg.

"I am confident that by expanding this hill padi industry with more varieties, it can further lower costs."

On Tuesday, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor has proposed that Kedahans consider cultivating hill padi as an alternative to boost the local white rice supply.

Sanusi said the state government was aiming to make Sik district as a centre for hill padi cultivation, complementing the existing padi fields in the state.

Dr Ismail said Mada would also explore acquiring more land to develop hill padi cultivation areas to increase rice production.

"So, we await approval for irrigation from the Irrigation and Drainage Department to expand the current 100,000ha Mada territory with the mentioned additions.

"This will make the Mada territory even larger, and surely the federal government will allocate a larger budget to ensure the expansion of these areas, along with an increase in the budget."

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