PASIR PUTEH, Jan 23 — The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries (Mafi) has allocated a total of RM62 million for the pesticide incentive to paddy farmers this year, said its minister, Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee.

He said the allocation which saw farmers who were previously given RM200 per hectare as incentive, now getting an additional RM100, making it a total of RM300 and benefiting more than 300,000 farmers.

“The paddy and rice industry is overseen by the government, in terms of the incentives given which have not been reduced.”

He said this at a press conference after launching the logo of the 50th Golden Jubilee celebration of the Kemubu Agriculture Development Authority (Kada) at Ladang Merdeka Jelor, here, today.

Ronald was asked to comment on the complaints from farmers, especially paddy planters who claimed that the increase in pesticide prices has put pressure on those starting the paddy-planting season this year.

At the ceremony, Ronald also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Kada and Padi Beras Nasional Berhad (Bernas) for the implementation of the Smart Large-Scale Paddy Project (SMART SBB), which is one of the national paddy yield improvement programmes.

On the SMART SBB Project, Ronald said it was a smart collaboration between the public and private sectors to develop paddy cultivation areas in stages in the peninsula.

“This approach is as agreed upon at the National Food Security Cabinet Committee Meeting that was chaired by the prime minister himself.

“This smart and strategic public-private partnership started in February last year and so far, there are 18 leading companies that have signed an MoU with the government, targeting 300,000 hectares of paddy cultivation,” he added. — Bernama