More farmers in Ba Kelalan using chemical-free rice farming method: WWF

Farmers in Long Langai are seen coming doing their part in a 'gotong-royong' to harvest the Adan rice planted using SRI method. Photo credit: © WWF-Malaysia/McKenzie Martin.

LAWAS, Mar 5: A total of 27 farmers from Long Langai in Ba Kelalan are on the right track in producing environment-friendly rice using chemical-free farming method called, System of Rice Intensification (SRI).

Senior Programme Officer for Community Engagement and Education of WWF-Malaysia Alicia Ng in a press statement said that in 2015, the Department of Agriculture Sarawak introduced SRI to Ba Kelalan under the Agriculture Research Centre to study the potentials to transform Ba Kelalan into an organic valley.

According to Alicia, this environment-friendly rice production project is made possible through a three-year partnership (2017-2019) with CIMB Islamic Bank Berhad.

“WWF-Malaysia continues the initiative because we believe that sustainable rice farming by local communities can reduce impacts of their agricultural practices to the environment.

“The project adds value to the ecosystem services such as the provision of clean water for irrigation, by minimising upstream land use changes such as unsustainable logging or large scale forest conversion to agriculture,” she said.

Meanwhile, CIMB Islamic ceo Ahmad Shahriman Mohd Shariff said that their involvement in this project reflect their support for BNM’s Value-based Intermediation concept as well as CIMB Group’s Forward23 sustainability pivot.

Shahriman claimed that they are pleased to support this WWF project which has benefited the farmers of Long Langai, and reflects CIMB Islamic’s focus on inclusivity and diversity.

“Further, this project is not just about environmental sustainability, but also economic uplift, particularly in enhancing the farmers’ yield through modern and sustainable agricultural methods.

“In support of CIMB Group’s mission to ‘advance customers and society’, CIMB Islamic will continue to support initiatives that have positive Environmental, Economic and Social (EES) impact in our society,” he added.

WWF Malaysia has been working closely with local farmers in Long Langai to promote sustainable rice farming using SRI since 2018 and the pilot project started with 12 farmers and after the first harvest in January last year, 15 more farmers from the surrounding area was convinced to join the bandwagon in using SRI this harvesting season.

Using SRI, some of the farmers shared that their yields have doubled up as compared to the traditional method that they had been using for many years.

Apart from that, the SRI method are also know to helps reduce agricultural impacts to the environment by eliminating pesticide and chemical fertiliser uses, which help keep the rivers clean. A good sustained income will take pressure off from converting more land for rice planting.

SRI also delivers a higher yield compared to conventional planting methods. It is also proven to be sustainable as this method uses less quantity of rice seedlings and less water during their growth cycle, as well as enables easier transplantation of young seedlings, more effective weeding control and more fertile soil conditions as organic fertilisers are applied. —DayakDaily.

Farmers in Long Langai are seen gathered for a group photo, joined by a representative from CIMB Islamic Bank getting ready in gotong-royong harvesting of Adan rice planted using SRI method. Photo credit: © WWF-Malaysia/McKenzie Martin.