KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government has established a special state cabinet committee, led by the state Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Industry Ministry (MAFFI), to address the issue of self-sufficiency level (SSL).
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said the problem identified by the special committee was fewer paddy fields due to the development of housing and commercial areas.
“To address the issue, the state government has explored a new paddy planting area in Trusan Sapi, Beluran covering an area of approximately 809.37 hectares,” he said in his opening speech at the state-level Farmers, Breeders and Fishermen’s Day celebration here today.
The text of his speech was read by Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan who is also the state Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Industry Minister.
He said the new paddy cultivation area will be developed in an integrated manner by MAFFI and its agencies – the Rural Development Corporation (KPD) and the Department of Agriculture – together with the Department of Irrigation and Drainage and the involvement of the private sector and residents as participants.
Hajiji added that the state government through MAFFI is now in the process of re-establishing the Sabah Paddy Board (LPS) to develop the rice and paddy industry in the state.
The re-establishment of LPS is expected to increase the state’s rice self-sufficiency level (SSL) to 60 per cent by 2030, he said.
He said that currently, the state’s rice SSL is at 22 per cent while 78 per cent of the state’s rice needs are met through imported rice from countries such as China, Vietnam, Thailand and Pakistan.
“Farmers, breeders and fishermen should be more alert and ready to accept and make changes in agriculture including modern farm management,” he said.
Hajiji said for the crop sub-sector, a total of RM115.39 million was allocated to the Department of Agriculture to increase the production of various crops, to generate income for farmers, from RM2,000 to RM4,000 per month.
“The government’s efforts to help the target B40 group and the hardcore poor will continue through KPD with an allocation of RM20.28 million. A total of 2015 participants will receive benefits from the implementation of various livestock breeding and crop cultivation programmes,” he said.
He said a total of RM46.09 million was allocated to the Fisheries Department this year to continue various programmes to guarantee the production of sustainable fishery products to cover the domestic and international markets.