KOTA BELUD: Kota Belud, known as the “rice bowl” of Sabah, is looking at RM29 million in losses after nearly 7,000 hectares of padi fields were severely damaged by the floods that hit the district following heavy rainfall on Saturday.
Kota Belud Integrated Agricultural Development Area director Salmah Labulla said the estimated losses were calculated based on the potential yield, current market price and cultivation costs.
The heavy rainfall on Saturday left 11 districts and 152 villages in Sabah inundated in floodwaters including Kota Belud, Tenom, Beaufort, Papar, Tuaran and Penampang.
Salmah said almost half of the padi fields in Kota Belud which were about to be harvested were covered in mud and at risk of damage by the floods.
She said the 3,000 affected farmers would be given aid through the disaster relief programme of between RM800 and RM1,000 per hectare depending on the maturity of their crops.
In the meantime, she said several measures should be taken to prevent such problems from recurring, including considering the need for a dam to control the water levels and deepening the rivers in Kota Belud.
Some farmers met by Bernama expressed their sadness after seeing their crops which were supposed to be harvested in just a few days’ time damaged by the floods.
One of the farmers, Perin Rahil, said his two hectares of padi were damaged with losses estimated at about RM11,000.
Amran Sibin meanwhile said farmers in Kota Belud whose crops were damaged were in great need of assistance from the government.
Another farmer, Makdin Umpong, had planned to harvest his rice this week. He said he was saddened by the turn of events but accepted it nonetheless.
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