Padi farmers hoping govt will provide seeds


Parched grounds: Dry padi fields seen in Perlis in the wake of the prolonged hot and dry weather. Based on the analysis of weather models, MetMalaysia expects the current weather state to remain until mid-April due to the lack of rain-producing clouds and the upcoming equinox. — Bernama

PETALING JAYA: Since temperatures surged a few months ago, padi farmers in the country have suffered losses of between 35% and 50%, say stakeholders.

The hot weather has led to their crops not getting enough moisture as well as being hit with diseases. This, in turn, has led to the harvested rice not meeting the required weight.

The farmers are now hopeful that the upcoming planting season will see the authorities providing them with padi seeds to help save their livelihood.

Kedah Padi Planters Federation member Wan Maharuddin Sulaiman said the hot weather over three months in the state has also resulted in pest problems.

“The weight of the harvested crops is also below standard, resulting in a loss of at least 30% to 50% for farmers.

“I suffered a 50% loss. It’s not just me; many farmers are facing the same issue,” he said when contacted.

Wan Maharuddin said that some farmers are in an even worse predicament, caught in a vicious cycle.

He said as some are renting their land, with the poor harvest, they are unable to pay their rent, let alone have funds to purchase padi seeds.

He said although the Kedah Muda Agricultural Development Authority (Mada) provides subsidies, there is still a concern about the cost of fertilisers and pesticides.

“This is the dilemma facing small-scale farmers in Kedah. We estimate that the price of planting padi for the next season will rise, which will further burden smallholders,” Wan Maharuddin said.

He said the price of padi seeds varies – the usual price is between RM35 and RM50 per bag, while higher-quality seeds can cost between RM60 and RM70 per bag, adding that at least RM1,500 is needed to buy seeds for a hectare of land.

The cost of pesticides has also increased, from RM2 per sachet to RM5.60 to RM6 per sachet.

Wan Maharuddin said small-scale farmers, faced with poor padi harvests, are left with no income.

He added that after the deduction of all expenses, including employee salaries, his padi harvests only yield a profit of RM40 per month.

According to data from Mada, the production in 2022 was 679,457 tonnes, while in 2023, it decreased to 604,513 tonnes.

Meanwhile, Mohd Izzat Mohd Zubir, special officer to the Kemubu Agricultural Development Authority (Kada) chairman, said due to the impact of the prolonged dry spell, about 800ha of padi crops were destroyed.

The total rice cultivation area under Kada spans 26,000ha, he said, making the loss of 800ha a significant blow to the region’s agricultural productivity.

According to him, erratic weather patterns disrupted the current planting schedule, with some areas previously inundated and others rapidly drying up.

“Efforts to mitigate the crisis will include short-term measures such as utilising pumps to channel water from rivers to affected areas and exploring cloud-seeding initiatives in collaboration with government agencies and the Meteorological Department.

“We also urge authorities to expedite cloud-seeding operations to alleviate water shortages and stabilise agricultural supply chains,” he said.

Mohd Izzat said in Kelantan, as losses mount, farmers face an uncertain future, with projections indicating a 35% increase in losses compared with the previous year.

“The farmers have no choice but to rely on government compensation programmes,” he said.

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Padi , Mada , Kada , Farmers , Hot Weather , Kedah , Kelantan

   

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