KOTA KINABALU: A six-week long dry spell along Sabah’s west coast is starting to take its toll with subsistence padi farmers in northern Kudat district reporting crop failure although the water supply has not been affected.
Among the affected areas in Kudat was Kampung Tanggui where 40 farming families were facing negligible harvest this year.
“Our padi is simply wilting because there has been no rain for more than a month,” said the village’s Development and Security Committee chairman George Oningkak.
He added that padi plants that had any grains were being attacked by birds and rats.
Oningkak said the villagers needed government help to tide them over as their main source of food and income had been severely affected.
Padi fields at nearby Kota Belud district have also been running dry, prompting some villagers to turn to bobolians (traditional Kadazandusun priestesses) to pray for rain.
A six-month drought in 1998 saw hundreds of farmers at Matunggong in Kudat losing their crops, forcing some to turn to consuming tuber roots that made their children ill.
Sabah Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan said yesterday that the dry spell had not affected water supply in the state.
“In Kota Kinabalu, the Babagon dam in Penampang can see us through a three-month drought. We still have sufficient water supply,” he said.
The Sabah Meteorological Services Department had said that the dry spell would continue until early next month.