KUANTAN: Stricter rules have been imposed on Felda settlers on their replanting programme after it was found that some farmers had reaped low harvest yields.
State Rural Development and Settlers Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Shahiruddin Ab Moin said studies had shown that those who chose to replant on their own had not used proper agronomy practices, resulting in lower production levels.
He cited an example of settlers in Bukit Goh, who continued to adhere to Felda’s procedures on replanting and managed to get 10.76 tonnes of produce per hectare in their first year, compared to 3.2 tonnes per hectare for those who chose to work on their own.
“A total of 21,751 settlers have participated in the replanting programme including 16,570 who chose to continue with Felda programme while 5,181 opted to proceed on their own.
“However, studies found that only 5% of the 5,181 settlers had been successful. These farmers had used insufficient fertilisers and carried out improper estate management. A large number of them also hired labourers to work on their estates without having proper supervision.
“They are on the losing end despite the many discussions held to help them find remedial measures and the encouragement given to them to use sufficient facilities provided by Felda and the state government,” Shahiruddin told the state assembly here on Tuesday.
He added that he did not rule out the possibility that some people had instigated the settlers from joining Felda’s replanting programme.
In an unrelated development, State Social Welfare, Unity and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Law Kee Long said victims of fires or floods were given RM500 each within 24 hours of the disaster.
Denying claims that the relief was only distributed three or four months after the incidents, he said: “The district social welfare records show that when disaster strikes, victims are given immediate assistance within 24 hours.”
When a disaster was reported to the authorities, an investigation would be carried out immediately and relief distributed soon after, Law said.
Law emphasised that the relief and assistance given were in the spirit of goodwill and should not be construed as compensation.