Premier says Lubok Punggor pilot project shows Sarawak can meet its rice needs by 2030

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

GEDONG, Feb 26 — Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg today said he is confident the state will be able to meet more than its rice needs by 2030, shown by the success of the Lubok Punggor padi cultivation pilot project.

He said the project by Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Bintulu campus has shown that a hectare can produce up to eight tonnes of hybrid padi per planting season using new methods and technology, compared to just one tonne using the traditional way.

“If there are five planting seasons in 24 months, as recommended under the pilot project, it means a hectare can produce up to 40 tonnes,” he told reporters after visiting the Lubok Punggor pilot project here.

“I have approved a RM30 million allocation to upgrade the drainage system in Lubok Punggor and if this is successful, which I am sure it will, then we will use the same methodology including modern technology in other rice growing areas.”

He also said he would present harvesting machines to be shared by the Lubok Punggor farmers.

He said the state government will develop areas in Simunjan in Samarahan Division, Banting and Lingga in Sri Aman Division, Spaoh in Betong Division and Tanjung Purun in Kuching Division using the same methodology and technology as being used in Lubok Punggur.

He said these areas have about 10,000 hectares, adding that this does not include the Limbang Valley which has been identified as suitable for padi cultivation.

‘‘If one hectare can produce yields of up to eight tonnes, then 10,000 hectares can produce up to 80,000 tonnes per planting season and if there are five planting seasons within 24 months, it means 400,000 tonnes,” he said.

He said Sarawak will have an excess supply of rice since Bernas is importing 240,000 tonnes of rice for the state yearly.

“My intention is that by 2027 or 2030 we will be exporting rice from Malaysia,” he said, adding it will improve the income of the padi farmers.

He said the state will give priority to cultivating padi for security reasons since rice is a staple food.