ALOR SETAR: The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (KPKM) will impress on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim a proposal to increase the allocation for projects to upgrade infrastructure and irrigation systems in areas of Muda Agricultural Development Authority (MADA).

Its minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu said based on the briefing given by MADA, the cost for that purpose is expected to exceed RM3 billion as announced earlier.

“The value will be more, especially in terms of land acquisition and there will also be (the need to) restore the dam in Pedu (near Kuala Nerang), which will cost quite a lot because it is quite sophisticated to repair and may require foreign experts.

“So for that reason, there will be an increase in the budget later. We will ask for additional (allocation) and this is a big project for the benefit of food security, I am sure the prime minister who is also the Minister of Finance will be ready to listen to our request,” he said here today.

Earlier, he attended the ‘Palestine Solidarity Council: History and Geopolitics of Palestine’ held at a hotel here.

Commenting further, he said the project is pivotal for the ambition to implement a five-season rice cultivation in two years in the entire MADA area can be realised in the next three to four years.

Meanwhile, Sabu said his ministry will study whether the quota for the supply of legal padi seeds (BPS) by government agencies can be increased from the current quota of around 30 per cent.

He said his ministry will hold discussions with the relevant agencies and will identify their capabilities before making any decision to raise the quota rate.

“We will study next year how the government agencies will try to raise it to provide seeds, secondly the government will also create a stockpile of padi, approximately 50,000 tonnes, if anything (an exigency) happens we can use this stockpile,” he said.

Previously, Farmers’ Organisation Authority (LPP) chairman Datuk Mahfuz Omar was reported to have said that currently there are four government agencies., namely the LPP, the Kemubu Agricultural Development Board, Felcra Plantation and MADA Corp that supply approximately 15,500 tonnes of BPS out of the 72,000 tonnes annual quota set by KPKM.

The rest is supplied by the private sector. - Bernama

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