Padi farmers hit by drought to adopt alternative method


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 23 Apr 2016

Padi famer. -Filepic

BUTTERWORTH: Some 4,000 padi farmers in north Seberang Prai who do not have water supply for irrigation will adopt the dry-seeding technique known as ‘serak kering’ to plant padi seedlings.

State Agriculture, Agro-based Industry, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said that use of the alternative method, which depends on rainwater rather than irrigation for the seeds to sprout, would start on May 10.

He said there were a total of 3,935 farmers with padi fields covering 6,730.61ha in north Seberang Perai without water supply currently.

“We will try this method as a pilot project and if found to be successful, it will be introduced in other districts,” he said after attending a weekly meeting with the state Agriculture Department and state Drainage and Irrigation Department officers at the Integrated Agricultural Development Area (IADA) in Sebe­rang Jaya near here yesterday.

Dr Afif, who is also the Seberang Jaya assemblyman, said the farmers will start preparations to use the alternative method next week.

He added that the technique was last used here in 1998, but it is still being used by farmers in Perak.

“A technical team of 10 officers from the state Agriculture Depart­ment have already visited Perak to study the method,” he said, adding that with the dry-seeding method, padi fields are ploughed and dampened before the seeds are planted.

It does not need to use irrigation but depends on rainwater for the seeds to sprout, whereas the usual method involves flooding the paid fields with water and sowing the seeds into the water.

He added that there are a total of 4,765 farmers in Penang with 8,622.61ha of padi fields, who do not have water supply for irrigation.

Meanwhile, Dr Afif said the Penang state government was willing to sponsor for cloud seeding exercise, which can cost RM15,000, to be done in Kedah.

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