Terengganu to request NSC to allow paddy planting during full MCO

Workers are seen at one of paddy fields in Sekinchan November 28, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Workers are seen at one of paddy fields in Sekinchan November 28, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA TERENGGANU, May 30 — The Terengganu State Government will request the National Security Council (MKN) to allow paddy planting activities in the state during the implementation of the full movement control order (MCO) nationwide from June 1.

State Agriculture, Agro-based Industry and Rural Development Committee chairman Dr Azman Ibrahim said new paddy planting for the second season this year should be carried out as scheduled from June 5 to enable the crop to be harvested before the flood season, which usually occurs at the end of the year.

“Paddy planting activities for the second season of this year, such as the preparation of paddy fields and plowing, especially in Besut, we have had to postpone until the EMCO (enhanced movement control order) in the district ends on June 4. This is because Besut is one of the main districts for rice production in Terengganu.

“So according to the second planting schedule, we will begin on June 5 and the paddy is expected to be harvested at the end of October. That too, we consider a very risky time, as there is the possibility of floods occurring. That is why we can no longer postpone it, and we need to give some flexibility for paddy cultivation even during the ‘total lockdown’ period,” he said in a press conference conducted online here today.

Dr Azman said the request would be tabled at the Terengganu State Security Special Committee Meeting chaired by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar, to be submitted to the MKN.

He said based on records, there were about 6,000 paddy farmers in the state, with 3,098 of them being in Besut alone.

The Federal Government recently announced the implementation of the first phase of a new MCO which will see a ‘total lockdown’ for two weeks from June 1 to 14.

This comes following the sharp increase in Covid-19 cases in the country.

Meanwhile, Dr Azman also requested the MKN to allow stalls, including roadside stalls selling fresh items, to be opened during the implementation of the full MCO to assist the agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors in the state.

He said the proposal would make it easier for consumers to purchase these fresh items, besides helping to reduce congestion at supermarkets.

“When only supermarkets are allowed to open and roadside stalls are closed, there will be a monopoly in terms of prices and the goods sold (in supermarkets) are mostly not local produce,” he said. — Bernama

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