I REFER to the report “Padi estates for better yield” (The Star, Sept 11), which quoted Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as saying that padi farmers can rise out of poverty if they are prepared to accept the idea of consolidating their smallholdings and operating them as estates.
The problem is the smallholdings are often too small for mechanisation as they have dwindled in size from generation to generation due to repeated subdivision among the children of padi farmers.
Another problem is many owners of the individual lots have migrated to towns and cities for employment and are sometimes difficult to trace.
But the most persistent problem is shortage of manpower, as most of the young people have migrated out of the village in search of employment in urban areas.
It would be better to plant other food crops like vegetables.