ISKANDAR PUTERI, Nov 27 — The Johor government plans to develop a 700-hectare padi cultivation area in Tangkak and Kluang, with an estimated cost of RM74 million.
State Agriculture, Agro-based Industry and Rural Development Committee chairman Datuk Zahari Sarip said the project to be implemented by the state Agriculture Department and various agencies had attracted the interest of two companies from China.
“Developing new padi fields requires a massive cost of RM74 million or RM104,000 per hectare. Therefore, the state government welcomes the private sector to participate in the initiative.
“To date, two Chinese companies have expressed interest and are exploring whether they can engage in this padi cultivation efforts,” he told reporters on the sideline of the Johor State Legislative Assembly at Kota Iskandar today.
Elaborating, he said the project would involve land preparation works with a cost of RM44,000 per hectare and the construction of a primary irrigation system at RM60,000 per hectare.
Zahari said that the Agriculture Department proposed an integrated management approach for the project similar to the Large-Scale SMART Padi Field Programme, which could attract private entities as government partners to make the country’s padi and rice subsector more dynamic and competitive.
He said the state government has also proposed to the Agriculture and Food Security Ministry to expand padi cultivation areas by establishing the Southern Region Integrated Agricultural Development Area (IADA) by consolidating padi field management in Johor, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan.
Meanwhile, Zahari said the total padi schemes in Johor is only 2,254.39 hectares or 0.8 per cent compared to the national padi parcel area of 280,208 hectares.
From the total padi schemes in Johor, he said only 1,631.55 hectares were actively cultivated, involving 10 padi field areas.
Five are in Tangkak, with 842.97 hectares of padi fields, Mersing (two fields; 549.38 hectares), Muar (one field; 364.22 hectares), Kluang (one field; 356.12 hectares), and Batu Pahat (one field; 141.70 hectares). — Bernama