KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government will build the necessary infrastructure in new areas with high potential for padi cultivation as part of its strategic plan to meet domestic demand and reduce dependency on imported rice, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin.
Yahya, who is also Sabah Minister of Agriculture Development and Food Industry, said the state government would include upgrading the existing infrastructure, including irrigation and drainage system, farm roads and pump houses, especially in Kota Belud and Kota Marudu.
“The infrastructure will be upgraded to cater to greater capacity undergo maintenance on regular basis. In addition, new infrastructure such as catchment pools will be built in existing (padi cultivation) areas,” he said at the state assembly sitting.
He was replying to Datuk Mohamad Alamin (BN-Bongawan) who wanted to know the total area of land where padi was actively cultivated in Sabah and the government's strategic plan to meet domestic demand and reduce dependency on imported rice.
Yahya said 35,601ha of land in Sabah was actively being used for padi cultivation, involving 32,696 farmers.
He added research and development efforts by the Sabah Agriculture Department would be ramped up to produce various high-yielding grains, which were resistant to pests and infections.
“The use of technology and good agriculture practices will continue to be prioritised through training, counselling, as well as monitoring and controlling pests,” he said, adding that the existing land owned by padi farmers would be consolidated to make it more economical as it would allow the areas to be optimally managed to improve productivity.
Meanwhile, State Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid said new legislation was required to take action against individuals who abused glue as an addictive substance.
She said a thorough study was required to create law enforcement against glue sniffing, as there was currently nothing to construe it as an offence.
Jainab admitted that several students in the state were involved in glue sniffing and drug abuse, but action had been taken by the respective school authorities, and that the offenders were given counselling. – Bernama