Government looking into saltwater rice cultivation, says minister

JITRA: The Agriculture and Food Security Ministry will explore saltwater rice cultivation methods in an effort to increase the country’s rice production.

Its minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu said his office had held discussions with relevant experts, including professors in China, regarding the technology that could be used for producing rice here.

“We are still in the early stages of discussions,” he said.

Mohamad said it took China four years to conduct a study on the method before it could be implemented.

“There is no reason why Malaysia should not have enough rice in the future,” he told a press conference after an engagement session with Harumanis Kodiang Entrepreneurs at the Harumanis Farm Collection Centre, Kampung Pida 3, Kodiang near here yesterday, Bernama reported.

He said irrigation and care were among the factors why there was a low yield of rice production in Kedah compared with Sekinchan, Selangor, thus requiring effective action to increase the yield in the rice bowl state.

“You cannot 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 cannot 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 can get six tonnes or more, we will have enough rice in Malaysia. Now, farmers have taken this seriously,” he added.

Mohamad said the method of planting rice through a large-scale scheme such as in Sekinchan could be practised by rice farmers in Kedah with the help and cooperation of the Muda Agricultural Development Authority and Padiberas Nasional Bhd.

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