Malaysia: Setiu paddy farmers in dire straits after floods wipe out crops

ADRIAN DAVID New Straits Times 7 Dec 17;

SETIU: Recent monsoon floods destroyed the crops of 26 paddy farmers at two villages here, with total losses amounting to approximately RM52,000.

Chief spokesman for the paddy farmers of Kampung Buluh Hilir and Kampung Buruk, Che Aziz Che Hamid, said that the losses cover 80 acres out of the 300 acres of crops which could not be harvested in time.

“This is due to the earlier-than-expected rainfall which flooded the paddy fields, destroying the crops which had yet to be harvested in time. It has caused a lot of hardship for the affected farmers,” he said.

Aziz added that the farmers had anticipated the torrential rain, but could not finish harvesting the affected area before the floodwaters came.

“Some of them had begun harvesting their crops since Nov 11 when their paddy had matured, but they did not manage to complete their job before the monsoon hit,” he said.

Aziz blamed several other factors which have added to the farmers’ misery. Among them are pathways that were damaged by the floods; and the unsystematic mobilisation of harvesting machines which have disrupted the harvesting process.

“Additionally, the farmers faced difficulty in marketing their harvested crops owing to complicated procedures and inadequate buyers. This had an effect on sales and revenue for the farmers,” said Aziz.

He added that many of the affected farmers are desperately trying to harvest their flooded fields in the hope of salvaging some of their crops. The farmers are attempting to salvage whatever they can after putting in a lot of work planting the paddy.

“Some lucky farmers may be able to push their lower-quality harvest at lower prices on the market, rather than suffer total loses.

“They also fear the second wave of monsoon flooding, which may lead to heavier consequences and losses,” he said.

Aziz added that he hopes the authorities will step in to offer some form of compensation to reduce the financial burdens of the paddy farmers.