SHAH ALAM, June 18 — The operating hours for all activities related to the paddy and rice industry have been extended to 24 hours at full capacity.
The Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry (MAFI) said this was in line with the extension of the movement control order (MCO) 3.0 period for another two weeks effective June 15 to 28.
“The ministry needs to ensure that paddy and rice production activities are not affected during the MCO 3.0 period, thus ensuring that the country’s rice stock is sufficient,” it said in a statement yesterday.
MAFI said it had also improved the standard operating procedures for the management of the paddy and rice industry to include paddy cultivation activities; ploughing and harvesting of paddy and maintenance of paddy fields and irrigation.
In addition, the use of drones for the purpose of seed sowing and disease control; distribution of agricultural inputs such as fertilisers and rice seeds to farmers; the operation of rice mills and rice packing mills; distribution and logistics as well as rice-based product processing plants.
In the meantime, MAFI said the Northwest Selangor Integrated Agricultural Development Area (IADA) in collaboration with the Selangor Agriculture Department had carried out integrated pest control on paddy fields in Panchang Bedena and Bagan Terap/Sungai Panjang areas.
It added that the pest attack had occurred in mid-May, involving an area of 6,632.4 hectares or 98 per cent of the total area.
MAFI said its minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee yesterday went to the ground to inspect the area and ensure that the problem was properly addressed.
“MAFI through the Paddy Crop Disaster Fund will channel assistance to farmers affected by pest attacks subject to evaluation by the committee that has been set up. It also expressed appreciation to the Selangor government which has contributed RM1.05 million to help control the pest attack,” the statement read.