Dr Rundi: New Sarawak Paddy and Rice Board to spearhead, regulate industry

Posted on 16 May 2024
Source of News: Borneo Post

Dr Rundi discusses his ministerial winding up speech with Deputy Ministers Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail (front second left) and Datuk Martin Ben (right). – Photo by Chimon Upon


KUCHING (May 14): The Sarawak Paddy and Rice Board will be established to spearhead and regulate the development of the rice industry in the state, said Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom.

The Food Industry, Commodities and Regional Development Minister said the establishment of the board acknowledges the importance of the rice industry in ensuring food security.

“This board will coordinate strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing the whole supply chain of rice industry,” he said in his ministerial winding up speech at the State Legislative Assembly today.

Prior to the establishment of the board, Dr Rundi said the ministry will form the Paddy and Rice Task Force chaired by the Sarawak State Secretary and involving all relevant agencies.

On a related matter, Dr Rundi said Sarawak needs 17,500ha of new areas equipped with tertiary infrastructure to achieve 100 per cent self-sufficiency level (SSL) for rice.

He said these new areas need to produce approximately 392,000 metric tonnes of paddy, which is equivalent to 235,000 metric tonnes of rice by 2030.

“As a staple food for Sarawakian, adequacy of rice is very critical. In year 2023, the total paddy production is about 118,000 metric tonnes or 32 per cent of SSL.

“In 2023, about 61,000 ha of land was planted with paddy, of which 32,000 ha is classified as wet paddy, while the balance 29,000 ha is mainly for hill paddy. Thus, to achieve 60 per cent SSL, Sarawak needs to produce approximately 236,000 metric tonnes of paddy, which is equivalent to 142,000 metric tonnes of rice,” he said.

He pointed out that based on the Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030, to achieve SSL of 60 per cent, an amount of RM1.2 billion is required to establish and upgrade the paddy infrastructure.

He explained this consists of 4,500ha of new areas and 8,800ha of existing Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) Schemes.

“However, to achieve 100 per cent SSL, 17,500ha of new areas and 8,800ha of existing DID Schemes are required with the estimated cost of RM4.68 billion,” he said.

Dr Rundi said the ministry acknowledged the main challenges to develop paddy infrastructures throughout Sarawak where most of the new potential and existing DID Schemes are located within Native Customary Rights (NCR) land or titled land.

“Therefore, my ministry will collaborate with Department of Land and Survey Sarawak to identify State Land which are suitable for paddy cultivation as aspired by the YAB Premier of Sarawak,” he added.

Copyright © 2020 Ministry of Food Industry, Commodity And Regional Development Sarawak
Last Updated On 13 Jun 2024

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