SEREMBAN – The Negeri Sembilan government will expand rice cultivation in Londah, Gemas in Tampin involving 20 hectares of land to increase rice production in the state.
The state Exco for Agriculture and Food Security, Datuk Bakri Sawir, said, for now, his party is in the irrigation planning process with the state Irrigation and Drainage Department (JPS) to ensure that the area has sufficient water resources.
“In Negeri Sembilan at the moment there are more than 1,000 hectares of rice crops in Kuala Pilah, Rembau, Jempol and Jelebu.
“But the size in the Jelebu area is almost 500 hectares where all the rice crops are for the local market,” he told Sinar Harian on Monday.
According to him, land clearing work will be done in the near future and is expected to be completed this year.
He added that the opening of new areas for rice cultivation would not only improve food security but also open up job opportunities, especially for local residents.
Regarding the abandoned paddy fields in the state, he said, it was due to problems with the irrigation system there but most of them had been cultivated with other alternative crops that were felt to be more appropriate.
“Previously there were more than 2,000 hectares of abandoned rice fields, but now only about 1,000 hectares remain because they have been cultivated with other crops,” he said.
In addition, he said, the state government will establish a Permanent Food Production Park (TKPM) for vegetable, cashew and napier crops in an area of 40 hectares in Gemas in the near future to promote large-scale, commercial and high-tech agriculture.
Bakri said that the state government is also ready to find an area of land or an old warehouse to be used as an alternative for vertical farming to cover food needs in the future.
“But it is not a priority at the moment, but that step can be implemented in the future if the land gets smaller due to development.
“It is not a new method but it can be considered to be implemented in this country. In fact, this method is also popular in Singapore because it saves space. The concept of vertical crops usually involve multi-storey types of vegetables such as mustard, okra and lettuce,” he said.