Smart padi field project set to grow


On the ground: Mohamad (second from right) and others visiting a padi field during the SMART SBB programme at Kampung Gerai in Jerteh, Terengganu. — Bernama

JERTIH: A smart padi field project will be expanded and the planting schedule re-examined to meet the needs for local rice in the country, says the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry.

Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu said the government is working to further expand the Ala Sekinchan Large-Scale Smart Padi Field (SMART SBB) project throughout the country, including in Sabah and Sarawak.

“While rice production in Sabah and Sarawak currently falls short of meeting their own population’s needs, we are confident that in the long term, both states can not only fulfil their domestic requirements but also contribute to other states,” he told Bernama during a SMART SBB programme at Kampung Gerai here yesterday.

Besides Sabah and Sarawak, the ministry, Mohamad said, had also received favourable responses from states such as Pahang and Johor to carry out the project, which involves integrated padi farming using modern technology to increase the crop yield and produce better quality rice.

He said the project, which was introduced at the end of 2021, is now implemented almost across the country, involving almost 10,000 farmers and covering over 26,000ha of padi fields.

The government, he said, will also re-examine the padi planting schedule, especially in the east coast states so that rice harvesting will fall before the arrival of the monsoon season.

“This way, we can reduce the losses suffered by farmers whose padi fields are in flood-risk areas,” he added.

It was earlier reported that SMART SBB is a government initiative to develop padi cultivation areas by optimising land usage and increasing the efficiency of padi production activities.

This programme also aims to increase the country’s padi production and income of padi farmers.

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