PASIR SALAK, July 31 — The Seberang Perak Integrated Agricultural Development Area (IADA) has become the first location for the implementation of the paddy and udang galah (freshwater prawn) integration pilot project with private companies, to increase farmers’ income.
Agriculture and Food Industries Minister, Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee, said that the project, involving more than one hectare of land, in collaboration with Felcra Seberang Perak and Thirty Three Management Sdn Bhd, which produced chemical-free organic fertiliser to enable freshwater prawn farming to be conducted simultaneously, was implemented in May this year.
“The main purpose of the project, which is an ecosystem of simultaneous paddy-freshwater prawn, is to increase farmers’ income compared with using previous cultivation methods.
“Paddy cultivation occupies 70 per cent (of the area) while 30 per cent of the project area is for freshwater prawn farming.
“This also increases income, with the harvest of paddy for about three months while the prawns will take about five months,” he said at a press conference, after a working visit to the Large-scale Smart Paddy Field Project (Smart SBB) here today.
He said that the project was being planned to be expanded to IADA Pekan and IADA Rompin, Pahang in the near future.
Ronald said that the farmers involved in the project were expected to get an estimated return of more than RM10,000 per hectare from the sale of paddy and prawns compared with only RM5,000 if relying on paddy harvest alone.
According to him, this project emphasises the use of chemical-free fertilisers to enable prawn farming, and indirectly promotes quality rice and organic prawns in the country, and higher value to local and foreign markets.
Apart from that, he said that the SBB SMART programme will also be implemented in the Felcra Seberang Perak area, involving an area of 140 hectares, which is expected to increase farmers’ income by 47 per cent or RM2,521 per hectare.
He said that FGV Integrated Farming Holdings Bhd, which is one of the leading companies in the Felcra Seberang Perak area, will focus on the cultivation of MRQ76 fragrant paddy produced by the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), in collaboration with IADA Seberang Perak and FELCRA Plantation Services Sdn Bhd.
He said that the fragrant paddy was able to give a high return of RM1,540 per tonne compared with white paddy which was sold at RM1,200 per tonne.
SMART SBB is a large-scale paddy land consolidation programme which aims to increase productivity through optimal and efficient resource management, as well as increase the income of farmers and entrepreneurs through smart and strategic public-private partnerships involving several leading companies, including FGV Integrated Farming Sdn Bhd (FGVIF). — Bernama