Near harvest, but padi fields parched for lack of water

A file picture showing parched conditions at a padi farm. (Bernama pic)

KEPALA BATAS: About 100 farmers in Pinang Tunggal, Paya Keladi and Pantai Kamloon here are at risk of suffering major losses because of inadequate water supply to irrigate over 1,000 hectares of padi fields.

Farmers’ representative Saadon Ayub, 53, said their fields had not received water supply for the past two weeks due to drought and faulty pumps at the Pinang Tunggal pump house, which had failed to channel water to irrigate the crops.

“The fields have dried up, the soil hardened and cracked because there is no water, we are very worried here because the rice is now in the ripening stage and within two to three weeks it can be harvested.

“If there is no water in the fields, the plants will be stunted or damaged so we really hope that relevant parties such as the state agriculture department and Integrated Agricultural Development Area (IADA), Penang, can assist us by channelling water into the fields,” he said when met here today.

He said that there was enough water at the Pinang Tunggal pump house but the faulty pumps could not channel the water as usual and he had already informed the relevant agencies about the problem.

Another farmer, Mohd Suki Jamaludin, 40, said he spent RM1,000 to buy his own water pump to irrigate his crops but it was not enough.

He said he had no choice but to buy his own water pump because if there was no water supply in his rice fields it would be a huge loss as it was in the stage of ripening and would soon be harvested.

“IADA has provided two water pumps but they are inadequate to service all the farmers here. Those pumps can only solve short term problems while drought occurs every year. We believe if the Pinang Tunggal pump house can channel the water into the area, the water supply problem can be solved.

“We hope the relevant parties can solve this problem by ensuring that the pumps in the pump house are functioning properly,” he said.

Kepala Batas MP Reezal Merican Naina Merican, who visited the affected areas, said he would write to the agriculture ministry to take immediate action.