The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (MAFI) plans to boost Self Sufficient Levels (SSL) of our national rice production to 75% within the 12th Malaysia Plan period.
It is developing 140 hectares of paddy-field land in the IADA Seberang Perak’s area via the Large-Scale Smart Paddy Cultivation (SMART SBB) initiative.
The initiative unites paddy-fields through contractual or rental agriculture via a management system which optimises available resources for increased farming effectiveness and post-harvest production.
It is expected to increase rice farmers’ income by 47%, or RM2,521 per hectare per season compared to previously practiced methods.
The aim of the program is to raise the average yield per national hectare from the average current production of 3.5 metric tonnes in 2019 to 7.0 metric tonnes under the 12th Malaysian Plan.
Minister of Agriculture and Food Industries, Ronald Kiandee commented that the programme would not add to government expenditure as the cost mostly will be borne by leading corporations. He added that by using technology like the Internet of Things (IoT) and economies of scale will uplift production per hectare.
Kiandee said, “We are exploring drone capability for effective monitoring and spraying of fertilizers and other chemicals to reduce costs yet increase rice farming productivity. It will also raise farmers’ incomes by mitigating middleman involvement throughout the supply chain.”
By implementing this programme the Ministry paves the way for leading companies to give industry players the opportunity to develop higher efficiency. It also has the potential to change the industry landscape to guarantee a secure and consistent national food supply.
Currently, eleven committed and experienced corporations possessing strong industry-relevant networks, structure, and know-how in the field are taking part to implement the programme, as private sector involvement is crucial to develop competitive advantage at all levels of the value chain.
One such participant is FGV Integrated Farming Holdings Sdn. Bhd. , which focuses on planting fragrant paddy MRQ76 produced by MARDI in collaboration with the Integrated Agricultural Development Area Seberang Perak (IADA Seberang Perak) and Felcra Plantation Services Sdn Bhd. The returns are as high as RM1,540 per metric tonnes compared to white paddy, sold at RM1,200 per metric tonnes.
During the visit, on a separate initiative, MAFI also looked into a pilot project with a private company on integrating paddy cultivation with tiger prawn farming. Kiandee also states that farmers’ returns for the joint cultivation were estimated at more than RM10,000 per hectare compared to paddy production of only RM5,000 in the same area. The success of the project is now to be implemented in IADA Pekan and IADA Rompin, Pahang.
To support paddy cultivation in the country, the Government allocated RM1.57 billion in the 2021 Budget to support the industry including with the Legal Paddy Seed Incentive, Federal Government Paddy Fertilizer Scheme, Paddy Production Incentive Scheme, Fertilizer Scheme, Racun Padi Bukit and Paddy Price Subsidy Scheme.
MAFI will oversee and ensure that these initiatives are well implemented and will also look into the paddy production activities and operations during the implementation phases of the National Recovery Plan. This is to monitor the national supply for domestic rice stocks is sufficient throughout this period.