S’wak govt to establish new Sarawak Paddy and Rice Board, task force to be chaired by State Secretary

Paddy. — DayakDaily.com file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, May 14: The government will establish the Sarawak Paddy and Rice Board to spearhead and regulate the development of rice industry in the State, says Sarawak Minister of Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development (M-FICORD) Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom.

He said the Board will coordinate strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing the whole supply chain of the rice industry, but prior to the Board’s establishment, a Paddy and Rice Task Force will be formed and chaired by the Sarawak State Secretary involving all relevant agencies.


This is one of the initiatives proposed by the ministry to transform Sarawak’s rice industry by increasing the rice self-sufficiency level (SSL).

According to Dr Rundi, Sarawak needs a total of 17,500 hectares of new area equipped with tertiary infrastructure to produce approximately 392,000 metric tonnes of paddy to achieve 100 per cent SSL while the State’s total paddy production in 2023 is only about 118,000 metric tonnes or 32 per cent SSL.

He said new areas in Sri Aman, Kapit, Mukah and Limbang Divisions were identified to be equipped with tertiary infrastructure, focusing mainly on the cultivation of high-yielding paddy varieties.

“Based on the PCDS (Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy) 2030, to achieve SSL of 60 per cent, an amount of RM1.2 billion is required to establish and upgrade the paddy infrastructure which consist of 4,500 hectares of new area and 8,800 hectares of existing DID (Department of Irrigation and Drainage) Schemes.

“However, to achieve 100 per cent SSL, 17,500 hectares of new area and 8,800 hectares of existing DID Schemes are required with the estimated cost of RM4.68 billion,” said Dr Rundi in his ministerial winding-up speech in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUS) here today.

Amongst other strategies to be implemented are the introduction of paddy production incentives, promotion of farm mechanisation and automation, establishment of post-harvest complexes in Sarawak, setting up of more paddy seed farms, and exploration of State land to be used for paddy cultivation. — DayakDaily