Premier: Sarawak aims for rice self-sufficiency, eyes export potential if paddy cultivation project successful

Abang Johari (front row) with other dignitaries photographed at the Lubok Punggor paddy plantation in Gedong on Feb 26, 2024. Photo credit: Ukas

by Shikin Louis

GEDONG, Feb 27: Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg expressed confidence that Sarawak can exceed its rice production needs if the State’s ambitious paddy cultivation plans succeed.

The 10,000 hectares of land include the Lubok Punggor plantation in Gedong where the pilot project is currently being undertaken, which will be expanded to Tanjung Purun in Lundu, Banting in Lingga, and Spaoh in Betong.

Abang Johari operates paddy planting machinery at the Lubok Punggor plantation in Gedong on Feb 26, 2024. Photo credit: Ukas

Abang Johari said based on the promising results from the pilot project in Lubok Punggor, each hectare of land will be able to yield about eight tonnes of paddy.

With 10,000 hectares of land, there is possibility that the farmers can yield about 80,000 tonnes of paddy in one harvest.

Additionally, the pilot study believes that the farmers can harvest the yield about five times within 24 months, thus producing about 400,000 tonnes of rice in total.

“Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) imported 245,000 tonnes of rice for Sarawak. If we are able to produce 400,000 tonnes of rice, we can supply rice to our own people and still have extra.

“Moreover, this has yet to include our plan to expand paddy cultivation in Limbang Valley.

“When we have become self-sufficient in rice production, we can export the extra supply of rice that we have by 2027 or 2023,” he said during a visit in Gedong yesterday (Feb 26).

He also said once Sarawak has reached that level of self-sufficiency, she will not only be able to stop importing rice from foreign countries but even have six months worth of rice.

Following this, he also approved a RM30 million allocation for Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) to upgrade the drainage system in Lubok Punggor in order to materialise the State’s large-scale paddy cultivation project. — DayakDaily