More than 100 farmers from six villages near Kuala Nerang in the district of Padang Terap, Kedah are facing problems because the 200 hectares of paddy fields they cultivate do not have adequate water supply and lacking proper irrigation system.
The affected villages are Kampung Padang Gelanggang, Kampung Pokka, Kampung Lubuk Keriang, Kampung Lubuk Labi, Kampung Tanjung and Kampung Tanah Merah.
A recent survey by the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) found that the farmers in the affected villages solely rely on rainwater to irrigate their paddy and this has caused various problems to them.
A farmer, Azmi Yaakob, 65, said that besides insufficient water supply in the paddy fields they also face threats from pests such as rats, golden apple snails, weedy rice and sambau weed (Eleusine indica). The situation becomes more serious when drought and flash floods destroy their crops.
Azmi lamented that due to all these problems, rice yields have declined between thirty and 95 percent during each harvest and at times they did not harvest anything.
Azmi who is also the Head of the Area Farmers Organization Unit (Pertubuhan Peladang Kawasan – PPK) Kuala Nerang explained that this problem has been tabled several times at the PPK meeting but until now no action has been taken by the relevant authorities.
He suggested that the government builds a new systematic irrigation and drainage system and a pump house in Padang Siring besides channelling water to the paddy fields here from the Ahning Dam via the Padang Terap River.
CAP sympathizes with the farmers in the area and urges the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) to conduct investigations and take appropriate action to solve the problems that have troubled the lives of the farmers here for a long time.
CAP is worried that if the situation is not addressed immediately, their source of income will continue to be affected. The problems faced by the farmers here and elsewhere if left unresolved can be detrimental to our food supply as well as the future of the country’s agricultural sector.
Media Statement, 13 July 2020