Farmers affected by El Nino: YB Dato' Sri Ahmad Shabery Cheek

11 Apr 2016

SABAK BERNAM: Some 2,000 out of 9,000 farmers here have been affected by the El Nino phenomena which is currently sweeping the country. Rice production could also be affected if the current dry spell persists. Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said that while the figures would only be known once the paddy was harvested, it is expected that production will be affected by at least five per cent. "For now, the ministry is not able to finalise whether El Nino has affected the production of the rice. We can not determine the actual figures until it is harvested. Among the problems faced by our farmers is that the water supply is not being distributed to some of the paddy fields in the vicinity as scheduled, causing a delay in the production," he said. 

He said this was because the water supply was being used in other areas. Ahmad Shabery was speaking during a visit to the area. He said the purpose of his visit was to check the condition of the water supply system in the district, especially since the country is being hit by El Nino. He added that a few areas had been badly affected. However, the completion of a retention pond could alleviate the situation soon. "Now that, the water retention pond in Parit 4 has been finally built, the farmers in the district can enjoy adequate water supply for their rice crops.

The construction of the pond was actually a Federal government project and should have been completed in 2012,” he said. "However, the project was delayed because the state government had issued a fine of RM600,000 to the Federal government. "So after paying, we managed to complete it in 2014. "The pond will be fully operational in two weeks time," he said, adding that total cost of the project was RM20 million. He said the ministry will also seek help from the local councils and authorities to help monitor the situation during the hot season. "We need to know whether the hot season will affect the production of rice,” he said.

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