Malaysia: Negri farmers urged to delay padi planting

The Star 7 Apr 16;

SEREMBAN: Padi growers in the state should defer their replanting activities due to the current dry spell.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Moha­mad Hasan said this was important to prevent farmers from suffering losses.

“I am sure farmers are aware that plenty of water is needed for their crops within weeks of replanting.

“Since the dry spell is expected to continue, it would be better for them to delay the replanting process,” he told reporters after chairing the exco meeting here yesterday.

Negri Sembilan padi farmers are concentrated mainly in the Kuala Pilah, Jempol, Jelebu and Tampin districts.

Mohamad said river waters could not be pumped into padi irrigation canals as the water was needed for human consumption.

“Our rivers are our main source of drinking water and we can’t take more water from there since the levels are already low,” he said.

On the water level at its seven dams, Mohamad said although the situation was not critical, it was crucial for the people to be prudent about water usage.

“We are worried as some dams are nearing critical levels. Remedial measures must be put in place now and we hope the rain will come soon,” he said, adding that special prayers would be held in mosques.

Mohamad added that there were no plans yet to impose water rationing.

“We are only worried about the Tampin and Rembau districts but have managed to overcome the problem by supplying additional treated water from the Sawah Raja plant,” he said.

Concerns over vegetation if hot weather continues
YEE XIANG YUN The Star 7 Apr 16;

JOHOR BARU: The Federation of Malaysian Vegetable Farmers’ Associations is worried that the vegetable supply in the country might be affected if the hot weather caused by El Nino persists.

Its president Tan So Tiok said the prolonged heatwave and drop in rainfall of 20% to 60% might cause disruptions in water supply, which is the most important element in growing the crops.

He said the last time that vegetable supply in the country was affected by the hot weather was in 2014 where it dropped by about 30%.

“There was very little rain back then and the dry spell lasted from January to April, which was bad news for our farmers as rivers and dams dried up,” he said.

Tan said so far, the vegetable supply in the country is still adequate but was worried that if the hot spell goes on until June as predicted, water supply would be affected and cause the overpopulation of insects that could destroy crops.

He said that during last year’s hot spell, also around March, crops were not affected as much as there was still enough water supply to ensure their growth.

“The crops could still grow well in hot weather as long as there is enough water,” he said, adding that a letter had been sent to the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry director-general about the federation’s concerns.

Tan added that Johor produced the most vegetables and supplied some 60% of the nation’s supply, followed by Perak.

The federation, which has about 6,000 members, records a yearly supply of 800,000 tonnes to 900,000 tonnes. About 25% of the amount is exported to Singapore.

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