KEDAH KETUM GROWERS URGED TO SWITCH TO ALTERNATIVE CROPS

MOHD FAZIL AHMAD

KUBANG PASU, Nov 22  (Bernama) -- Ketum growers in the state are urged to switch to other commercial crops so as not to contravene existing regulations namely provisions in the National Land Code.

In making the call Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Tun Mahathir said though studies conducted with the relevant agencies have found that profits reaped from these crops would not be much compared to ketum, it is much safer to cultivate them as they are legitimate cash crops..

He added that the state Agriculture Department is prepared to assist entrepreneurs in providing consultation services on the types of crops they would like to work on, should they switch to other crops.

“Ketum is being regulated under the Poisons Act 1952 and not the Hazardous Drugs Act 1952, but under the Land Code, the condition is that the agricultural land should be for the cultivation of crops of commercial value such as oil palm, padi or rubber.

"Growing ketum is clearly a violation of law, so take the initiative to make the change," he told reporters when met at a mass circumcision ceremony involving 40 participants here today.

Mukhriz said this when asked to comment following ketum farmers appeal for assurance from the government that should the crops be destroyed, they would be replaced with crops that bring equally lucrative returns.

-- BERNAMA