‘Give subsidy directly to padi farmers’

Poor quality: Abdul Rashid (right) holding a handful of padi seeds, which will likely not germinate as it has been over processed in Megat Dewa, Kedah. — Bernama

JITRA: An association comprising padi farmers known as Pertubuhan Persaudaraan Pesawah Malaysia, or Pesawah, is appealing to the government to consider providing the subsidy for padi seeds directly to them.

Executive council member Abdul Rashid Yob said the move would enable farmers to get their supply of quality padi seeds at reasonable prices.

He claimed the problem of poor quality seeds had been affecting farmers in Kedah for the past four years and similar complaints had been received by farmers in Negri Sembilan and Penang.

“One of the problems with poor padi seeds is that seeds that had been processed for more than three months will not germinate when soaked in water ... and now, with higher operating costs, it will definitely burden the farmers,” he told Bernama.

According to Abdul Rashid, the subsidy is currently given to rice mills.

“What we want is for the government to give the subsidy, either in the form of coupon or cash, directly to the farmers and they make their own choice of where to buy padi seeds.

“This way, there will be healthy competition, especially if more parties are given the licence to sell padi seeds,” he said at a press conference here yesterday.

He also advised farmers to cease the practice of keeping, sharing and selling rice seeds among themselves.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Mada Farmers’ Action Body, Che Ani Mat Zain, said the decline in padi crop yield was due to the problem of poor quality seeds.

“Hence, the need for the government to take immediate action by listening to farmers’ complaints because it involves food safety,” he added.

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