Malaysia: Agriculture Dept to continue to help farmers affected by El Nino

The Star 23 Apr 16;

ISKANDAR PUTERI: The Agriculture Department will continue to give assistance to all farmers in Johor especially during the current El Nino phenomena that has plagued the country, said state Agriculture and Agro-based Industry committee chairman Ismail Mohamed

He said the assistance that was given to affected farmers included agricultural tools to help rehabilitate affected crops during the hot spell.

“The department will continue to give help to local farmers here including giving water pumps and mobile tanks as the cost is much lower compared to constructing tube wells.

“However, tube wells will be given to mega agricultural projects where it gives huge contribution to the nation’s food productions,” he said in his winding up speech during the Johor assembly sitting held at Bangunan Sultan Ismail here on Thursday.

Ismail said that last year, the Agriculture Department helped build 15 tube wells at the vegetables commercial project at Bukit Gambir near Tangkak involving a cost of nearly RM1mil in a 240ha land with 120 farmers.

He added that according to the drought report as of this month, 28ha of paddy fields in Kluang are badly affected due to the phenomena involving three farmers with an estimated loss of around RM14,000.

Ismail also said about 0.1ha of mushroom plantation in Mersing is also affected, involving one entrepreneur with losses of up to RM9,000.

“For fruits, about 67.40ha of land in Mersing and Segamat is affected, with 41 farmers with losses amounting to RM215,000.

“About 54 vegetables farmers in Mersing and Segamat, with 70.41ha are also affected due to the drought with losses of RM230,000,” he said.

He stressed that the government would continue monitoring the situation and ensure such assistance would be given to ensure Johor remains the largest food producer in the country despite the hot spell.

Padi farmers hit by drought to adopt alternative method
The Star 23 Apr 16;

BUTTERWORTH: Some 4,000 padi farmers in north Seberang Prai who do not have water supply for irrigation will adopt the dry-seeding technique known as ‘serak kering’ to plant padi seedlings.

State Agriculture, Agro-based Industry, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said that use of the alternative method, which depends on rainwater rather than irrigation for the seeds to sprout, would start on May 10.

He said there were a total of 3,935 farmers with padi fields covering 6,730.61ha in north Seberang Perai without water supply currently.

“We will try this method as a pilot project and if found to be successful, it will be introduced in other districts,” he said after attending a weekly meeting with the state Agriculture Department and state Drainage and Irrigation Department officers at the Integrated Agricultural Development Area (IADA) in Sebe­rang Jaya near here yesterday.

Dr Afif, who is also the Seberang Jaya assemblyman, said the farmers will start preparations to use the alternative method next week.

He added that the technique was last used here in 1998, but it is still being used by farmers in Perak.

“A technical team of 10 officers from the state Agriculture Depart­ment have already visited Perak to study the method,” he said, adding that with the dry-seeding method, padi fields are ploughed and dampened before the seeds are planted.

It does not need to use irrigation but depends on rainwater for the seeds to sprout, whereas the usual method involves flooding the paid fields with water and sowing the seeds into the water.

He added that there are a total of 4,765 farmers in Penang with 8,622.61ha of padi fields, who do not have water supply for irrigation.

Meanwhile, Dr Afif said the Penang state government was willing to sponsor for cloud seeding exercise, which can cost RM15,000, to be done in Kedah.

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