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Published: Monday February 8, 2010 MYT 3:14:00 PM

Malaysia may not have to import rice by 2015

KOTA BARU: Malaysia’s aim of not having to import rice by 2015 may be realised when two major rice-growing areas of the Muda Agriculture Development Authority (Mada) and Kemubu Agriculture Development Authority (Kada) can raise production by between 5% and 10%.

Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Wira Mohd Johari Baharum said currently, Malaysia was importing 30% of its rice needs or 700,000 tonnes from other countries annually.

“If we can increase rice production in the two major areas (Mada and Kada), I am confident we don’t need to import rice by 2015,” he said at Kada’s Meet-the-Customers Day 2010, here, Monday.

Also present were Kada general manager Ibrahim Mat and member of its board of directors, Datuk Dr Illias Hussein.

Mohd Johari said to realise the goal, the ministry was intensifying efforts to spur agriculture development in the Mada and Kada areas by increasing allocations.

He said the ministry was also preparing a Cabinet paper to be tabled soon on steps to be taken to overcome pest problems which could theaten rice production.

“Under the pest prevention and eradication programme, the Government had allocated RM17mil for the purchase of agriculture input for the two rice bowls.

“Besides that, the Government will open up more areas for mini rice estates to help farmers earn a lucrative income and avoid the problem of middle-men.”

Johari said Kada was able to produce 230,000 tonnes of padi last year and production was expected to increase to 260,000 tonnes this year. -- Bernama

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