Erratic weather threatens multiple-harvest plan

ALOR SETAR: The Large-Scale Smart Padi Field (Smart SBB) project is supposed to increase the country’s padi production as well as the income of padi farmers.

But unpredictable weather has thrown a spanner in the works, which is supposed to see five harvests every two years.

The five-time harvest plan went well in Kedah and Perlis at the beginning. Many padi farmers recorded excellent results in producing quality rice in their first planting season of the year that began in April.

One of them was Mohd Haniff Darus, 36, who successfully completed his first harvest in September.

“I followed the guideline given by the Muda Agricultural Development Authority (Mada), and it went well,” he said.

Then came the erratic weather, which resulted in him being unable to start his planting season last month.

He said the volatile weather caused his fields in Kampung Sedaka near Yan, Kedah, to flood.

“It was not really that bad, but other farmers might not be as lucky as me,” he said.

According to the Mada planting season, the dates for sowing padi seeds are divided into three phases – from Sept 27 to Nov 11; Oct 7 to Nov 21; and Oct 17 to Dec 1.

These coincide with the northeast monsoon which begins today until next March.

Mada chairman Datuk Dr Ismail Salleh said the scheduled planting season is part of the government’s effort to increase the output of locally produced white rice in the future.

He said the programme to increase the intensity of rice cultivation was carried out on a 214ha area in a pioneer project.

“The effectiveness of this programme is evident as the average yield has increased from 3.3 tonnes per hectare to six tonnes per hectare,” he added.

Among the areas that were involved in the project were Kampung Padang Telela, Kampung Sena and Kampung Katong in Perlis.

In Kedah, the padi fields are in Pantai Jamai, Titi Gajah A and Plot B in Pendang.

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