By ZAZALI MUSA in Johor Baru
TAIWAN-BASED Real Strong Ltd Group plans to help Malaysia become a self-sufficient rice producing country through large-scale farming throughout the nation.
To be undertaken by its Malaysian unit All Cosmos Industries Sdn Bhd, the project aims at achieving the target in the next three to five years.
All Cosmos managing director Tony Peng said that for a start the company had in June this year started large-scale rice farming at Seberang Perak in Perak.
He said the farm, sited on 4,800ha owned by Felcra Bhd, would serve as an experimental project before the company expanded the scheme elsewhere.
“Malaysia could become one of the leading rice producing countries in the region and reduce its dependency on imported crops,” Peng told StarBiz in Johor Baru on Monday.
He said Malaysia had all the advantages to become a producer and exporter of rice due to its fertile soil, suitable climate and abundant land.
Peng said the Agriculture Ministry should consider going big-scale on all agricultural products and be willing to work closely with private companies.
He said the company, which produces bio-organic fertiliser for the export and domestic markets, was ready to work with related government agencies and departments.
“We are willing to share our knowledge and expertise in agro-based activities to bring the agricultural sector to new heights and dimension,” Peng added.
On the Seberang Perak project, he said the company had implemented a new planting technique that reduced the number of padi seedlings used.
He said farmers usually used about 240kg of seeds for 165ha, but the company had cut the number by almost 60% and found that the yield per hectare had increased, thanks to the method.
By using this method, yield per hectare could be increased from the current 5.5 tonnes, he said, adding that the company was looking to double the yield per hectare to 10 tonnes at its rice farms.
Peng said the company planned to have large-scale padi fields in every Malaysian state, with each field covering at least 1,000ha.
The Star, Thursday, August 07, 2003