BELURAN (Aug 23): Hill paddy grown in Sabah and Sarawak can become a premium product and capable of penetrating a broader market, said Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee today.
He said the premium product would be able to give higher returns to the farmers who plant the crop and subsequently increase the country’s paddy production, besides reducing rice imports.
“Under the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (Prihatin), some RM42 million has been allocated for the programme to assist hill paddy planting, including fertiliser and poison.
“This is part of the government’s efforts to increase national rice production and reduce dependency on imported rice,” he told reporters after visiting the Kampung Lumou hill paddy planting project in Telupid near here.
According to Kiandee, most of the hill paddy production in Sabah and Sarawak are for the consumption of the farmers and their families and also marketed to the supermarkets, retail shops and nearby markets.
He hoped the hill paddy planting sector could be modernised to keep abreast of the current situation.
“I call on all hill paddy plantation entrepreneurs to utilise sources and quality assistance from my ministry properly, systematically and effectively.
“I believe the production of hill paddy can be enhanced and ultimately increase the entrepreneurs’ income,” he added.
On the Kampung Lumou project, Kiandee said about 280 hectares are under cultivation by 271 entrepreneurs. – Bernama