Wednesday, June 11, 2008


RM75 mil boost for padi
Sabah Govt also requesting KL for more allocations for food production, say Musa


The State Government has requested the Federal Government to increase the allocation for food production, especially for padi cultivation, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said. “We are also asking for more allocations to open up new land for food production,” he said when Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed called on him at his official residence in Sri Gaya here on Tuesday. Among the topics discussed were the issue of food supply in Malaysia, particularly Sabah and steps taken to address them. According to Musa, Sabah wants to play a key role in resolving issues involving food production in the State and the Nation in general. “We still have tracts of land that should be opened up, especially for rice cultivation,” he added. Mustapa meanwhile said the Federal Government has approved an additional allocation of RM75 million this year to boost padi production in Sabah. He said RM32 million of the allocation was for agricultural inputs such as providing fertiliser assistance. Another sum of RM25 million is for drainage and irrigation development, RM7 million for farm mechanisation, RM5 million for maintenance of drainage and irrigation system and RM3 million each for land flattening and pest control. “Malaysia has enough land for agriculture, so there is no reason for us not to achieve self-sufficiency in food production. For Sabah, the priority is to increase rice production,” he told reporters after visiting a goat rearing farm in Tuaran near here yesterday. Mustapa said the food production sector was expected to receive an additional allocation under the mid-term review of the Ninth Malaysia Plan, to be announced on June 26. He said the move is in line with the new policy of the Government to give priority to the food production sector in the wake of the global food crisis. He said under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, his Ministry was allocated with RM7 billion. Another RM10 billion was allocated for the agricultural sector undertaken by other Ministries and agencies. On measures to lighten the burden borne by padi farmers following the fuel price hike, Mustapa said the Government would provide assistance totalling RM140 per hectare to plough their land, with RM100 of the amount coming from the State Government. He said the Government is in the process of registering farmers nationwide for the food production incentives totalling RM513 million, to be given to farmers who ventured into farming other than padi.