Small padi farms to become estates in Kedah, Kelantan

MARAN: The National Farmers Organization (Nafas) intends to pool small padi farms in Kedah and Kelantan for estate-style management next year, to increase farmers’ incomes and boost national rice production.

The organisation’s chairman, Phahrolrazi Mohd Zawawi, said a business plan was being prepared and is expected to be put into action next year.

“For a start, Nafas plans to establish the estates in Kedah and Kelantan, by incorporating small-scale padi fields under the Muda Agricultural Development Authority and Kemubu Agricultural Development Authority.

“We will pick suitable padi areas and look forward to the cooperation of the landowners. They can choose to work under our supervision or hand over the management of their fields to Nafas to be managed more efficiently,” he said.

Phahrolrazi was speaking to reporters after a Pahang farmers’ event in Kampung Awah here today at which 500 local and underprivileged farmers received business tithe from Nafas totalling RM100,000.

Phahrolrazi said padi farmers could expect a higher income from being part of a padi estate as opposed to working on their own. “To move forward with economical management, a padi field needs to be at least five hectares in size,” he said.

Government subsidies on fertilisers and other items will continue to be available in estates. “We also want farmers to be involved in a more holistic manner such as harvest machinery and in padi milling.

Phahrolrazi said Nafas hoped to increase membership in area farmers’ organisations to over one million.