JERLUN, Aug 29 — Kedah government is looking for ways to balance agricultural land and development to ensure food security as its role as the rice bowl of Malaysia while also ensuring the needs of its growing population is met.

“We need to balance the demand for food supply and the growing number of people who are in need of more housing. One of the ways that we are working on is increasing agriculture yield from limited land areas.

“Right now, we still want to expand the agricultural area and in the Muda Agricultural Development Authority (MADA) area, we are looking at outskirt areas for agriculture. But at the same time, it is difficult for the state government to deny demands for housing development,” said Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Utama Mukhriz Mahathir

He said this when asked to comment on the statement of Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Sim Tze Tzin, urging all state governments not to change the terms of the agricultural land to enable developers to develop housing projects or industries.

Earlier, Mukhriz, who was also Jerlun MP, officiated the Jerlun Ambang Merdeka programme at the Jerlun Sports Complex, which was participated by more than 20 contingents marching about 1.2 kilometers with the Jalur Gemilang and the Kedah flag.

Meanwhile, on the initiative of the Education Ministry to provide free breakfast to primary school students, Mukhriz said the state government was very grateful for the ministry’s efforts.

“When we look at it, besides kindergarten, primary and secondary students, tertiary students are also facing malnutrition and this can have adverse effects on their studies,” he said.

Earlier, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said through the programme a total of 2.7 million primary school students would be provided with a healthy and nutritious menu starting from January 2020. — Bernama