Muda Agriculture Development Authority which oversees paddy and rice production in Kedah and Perlis is targeting to raise farmers’ income involved in the Large Scale Smart Paddy Field Program from RM2,000 to RM2,500 – RM5,000 by 2025.
The SMART SBB program is the ingenious initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries to consolidate paddy growing in the country into a centralised operation where it can optimise government support, involvement of corporations and at the same time reduce the dependency of middlemen.
Proven to be effective in its pilot projects, the initiative is also said to be able to increase the income of farmers following the reduction in involvement middlemen along the value chain of the country’s paddy and rice industry that can be harnessed directly by farmers, one of the agenda of Smart SBB. MADA has signed an MOU with Bernas which is the largest rice supplier in the country and will now be working with MADA to implement Smart SBB in these states. Both parties have already implemented the SBB SMART Program with an area of 100 hectares located in Kampung Tok Jering and a few other ongoing projects.
Under the program, Bernas will guarantees a yield return of 7.00 mt/hectare after 4 full seasons to farmers who participate in the Large -Scale Smart Paddy Field Program. In addition, they will also receive an advance payment at the beginning of the season, share operating costs, share in profits and bonuses if paddy yields increase among others.
MAFI Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ronald Kiandee who has present at the signing ceremony said the efforts by his officers have resulted in now 19 companies involved in the program including Kedah State Zakat Body which is targeting 300,000 hectares of paddy field for development.
Dr. Ronald added, as of October 2021, the achievement of the program has far exceeded the Ministry’s target a total of 3,811 farmers have benefited from the SMART SBB program spanning an area of over 9,500 hectares. Citing examples of its returns, in Sekinchan, Selangor the yield has increased from 2.5 metric tonnes per hectare to 8 to 10 metric tons per hectare a 400% jump in production. While in the beginning, only 83 farmers took part now 800 farmers are under the program.
MADA is hopeful that the SMART SBB program can increase rice yields from 5.89 tonnes per hectare to 7.0 tonnes as how the success has been derived in Selangor.
The program is part of the Government’s commitment under the National Agro-Food Policy 2.0 to increase the income level of food producers as well as the subsistence level (SSL) of national rice from 63% to 75% by 2030.