MB: Land should be used according to suitability

FARMLAND for animal and crop production should be allocated based on its physical and chemical suitability, Mentri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said.

This, in addition to having effective and efficient agricultural systems, was necessary in ensuring sufficient food stock, he said.

“Aggressive research on soil-plant productivity aimed at improving further yield per hectare should be of priority, not only for rice production but also other food crops.

“New knowledge on soil fertility, water and pest management, new seeds and cropping systems is also much needed.

“The Perak Government will always be supportive in this regard as well as in working out ways towards achieving food security and self-sufficiency,” Mohammad Nizar said in his opening speech at the 2008 Soil Science Conference of Malaysia in Ipoh recently.

His speech was read out by state Higher Education, Science, Technology and Communications committee chairman Thomas Su Keong Siong (pic).

Speaking to reporters later, Su said: “To achieve sustainable food crop production, we need to ensure that land is used according to its suitability.

“For example, if land is suitable to plant paddy then it should only be used for that purpose.

“The state government will consider the use of land, whether for agriculture, development or industrialisation in that sense,” he said.

Noting that specific areas of agriculture land in Perak were being destroyed, Su cited the example of vegetable farmers in Chemor and Kanthan who were displaced due to conversion of the land they were working on into a hi-tech park.

“Similarly, the state government is also coming up with policies to protect the tropical fish-farming industry in Gopeng as the land there is suitable for it.

“We don’t want industries that are established and land that is suitable for a particular industry to be developed and modernised at the expense of farmers,” he said.

Su, however, noted that it did not mean the state government was against development.

“We want a balanced development, one which does not harm the environment and food security,” he said.

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