KANGAR, Jan 2 — The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry (MoA) will be speeding up assistance to help paddy farmers in Perlis and Kedah following the early onset of drought in the two states.
Its Minister, Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub, said the ministry was prepared to render whatever assistance including coordinating irrigation in Perlis with the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry (KATS).
“We take the matter very seriously and will hold discussions to overcome the problems including cutting out bureaucracy so that they are addressed,” he told reporters during a visit to the Flood Mitigation Project at Bintong and Paddy Planting project in Sempering near here today.
Salahuddin said his ministry would also direct the National Farmers Organisation (Nafas) to quickly release allocations to affected farmers by providing petrol aid to pump water into paddy fields.
He said MoA would also be conducting a study on the losses suffered by farmers and would take measures soon to lighten the burden of the affected farmers.
A paddy farmer, Othman Dad, 60 said he was pleasantly surprised to see the minister going to the ground to look at the problems faced by the people.
“At the dialogue session, the Minister (Salahuddin) pledged to help farmers and carry out measures to overcome the problem by coordinating irrigation works,” he told Bernama.
He said if the matter prolong, it would bring great losses to farmers who depended on their crops as main source of income to support their families.
“If the government did not help, who would help us. I am working on a seven-hectare paddy farm and had spent RM40,000 as capital and this is not including debts which need to be paid such as rent and fertiliser,” he said.
Sharing his views was Hamuri Dan, 45 who said he was grateful with MoA via Nafas to provide petrol aid to pump water in the paddy fields.
The media has earlier reported farmers in Perlis and Kedah were facing dry paddy fields following drought in northern Peninsular Malaysia involving about 100,000 hectares of paddy fields. — Bernama