TASEK GELUGOR, Sept 30 — The Rural and Regional Development Ministry (KKDW) is currently assessing land in Kota Belud, Sabah and Sri Aman, Sarawak to determine its suitability for the implementation of rice cultivation projects.
Its Deputy Minister, Datuk Rubiah Wang, said this effort is expected to improve the local agro-food sector and strengthen national food security.
“Both areas, each covering over 5,000 hectares, will be developed through Felcra in Sabah, while in Sarawak, we are working with the state government for the same purpose.
“We are currently in the preliminary stage, which means we are in the process of assessing the land and identifying the farmers for these rice cultivation projects.
“Besides, we have also been instructed to speed up actions to expand rice cultivation areas to increase the country’s rice production,” she told reporters after a visit to the Perda Food Valley here today.
Regarding her visit, Rubiah said the approach taken by the Penang Regional Development Authority (Perda) and the Department of Agriculture, which involves leasing Perda land to agricultural entrepreneurs, needs to be expanded to other government agencies to strengthen food security in the country.
She said that so far, 130 participants and companies have leased Perda land for agricultural purposes at rental rates of RM50 to RM150 per acre per month.
“This approach should be expanded to other KKDW agencies because it is more focused, can help entrepreneurs increase their income and also contribute to the country’s food production.
“This is one of the efforts to encourage farms to be managed commercially for optimal results because it is an effective development format. The Department of Agriculture will provide the infrastructure while participants themselves carry out the farm management.”
Rubiah added that the agricultural area in Perda Food Valley covers 1,058 acres, of which 341 acres are rented to agropreneurs, 297 acres are managed by Perda subsidiary Perda Ventures Incorporated Sdn Bhd and 420 acres are managed by Perda itself.
She said that as of August this year, the yield from Perda Food Valley reached 4,201 tonnes, valued at RM6.352 million.