JITRA: The Agriculture and Food Security Ministry plans to explore saltwater rice cultivation methods in an effort to increase the country's rice production in the future, says its Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu.
He said his office had held discussions with relevant experts including professors in China regarding the technology that could be used for producing rice in this country.
"We are still in the early stages of discussion to ensure that the area by the saltwater sea is not wasted. It can be used in the future with technology.
"We will ask the opinion of experts from outside on how they succeeded; they did not succeed in one day, they (China) did a four-year study. There is no reason why Malaysia will not have enough rice in the future," he said.
Mohamad Sabu said this at a press conference after an engagement session with Harumanis Kodiang Entrepreneurs at the Harumanis Farm Collection Centre, Kampung Pida 3, Kodiang near here today (May 28).
Mohamad added that the issue of irrigation and care are among factors for low yield of rice production in Kedah compared with Sekinchan, Selangor, thus requiring effective action to increase rice yield in the rice bowl state.
"You can't do rice cultivation part-time; in Sekinchan, rice farmers do it as a permanent job. In Kedah, we want to go in that direction. (However) we can't blame the farmers either because the irrigation system is also important.
"We cannot survive on five tonnes per hectare. In Sekinchan, we get between eight and 10 tonnes per hectare; if we get six tonnes or more, we have enough rice in Malaysia. Now farmers have taken this seriously," he said.
He said the method of planting rice through a large-scale scheme such as in Sekinchan can be practised by rice farmers in Kedah in an effort to produce additional rice with the help and cooperation of the Muda Agricultural Development Authority (Mada) and Padiberas Nasional Berhad (Bernas). - Bernama