Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Paddy field in Sabah 50 years behind time, new department needed.

Sabah DAP mobile service team was brought on a conducted tour to the Kota Belud paddy field. The purpose of the visit was to get down to the various problems faced by the paddy planters in the region. There are many factors affecting the low production of our compulsory food supply in Sabah. The paddy fiels are at least 50 years behind time when compared to the rest of the rice producing countries in the world. The countries like Burma, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, India, China, USA, Australia and Indonesia are well advance in their rice production, and they are exporting rice to the rest of the world. Very sorry to say that paddy planting in Sabah is still stagnant at the era of 1950.

The BN government talked and announced so much about the plans to promote and increase the paddy production, and giving so much on allocation, grant, increase in subsidies and assistance in field preparation, but until today we see no improvement and increase in the rice production. We see less paddy field and higher import of foreign rice. Sabah is currently importing some RM770 million worth of rice (220,000 ton) per year to feed the people. Sabah can only produce 3% of our rice requirement. What went wrong and where are all these money gone to? May be it is easier to import then to plant our own! Why should the government worry about this?

The trip to Kota Belud explains it all on why we don’t see an improved rice production in Sabah. It is shocking to learn that there is so little effort put in to helping the poor farmers. The standard and condition of our fields are far behind from those in other rice producing countries. Their fields are well planned, managed, designed for high yield, with good infrastructures, and with modern facilities and planting technology. When we look back at our paddy field, it is beyond compare, because we are still in the primitive stage. Our field still faced with bad drainage system, not enough irrigation, no service roads, uneven ground level, infested with pests and birds, lack of suitable machines to work the field, lack of man power and most of all there is little aids from the government. At present, the paddy planting is handled by private and traditional planters, their resources are limited.

Dr. Hiew King Cheu, who led the team, took about two hours during the mobile service to visit the paddy fields in Kota Belud. It is a sorry stage to see the bad condition of the paddy fields and to learn so much about the hardship faced by the paddy farmers and rice millers. Dr. Hiew said there are so much to do in Sabah to increase the production of our compulsory food starve, the government in the past had neglected total on the importance of the paddy planting, and just rely on imported rice. Sabah is losing valuable money. There are so many productive paddy lands which had gone idling, now growing valueless grass, are because of the government not providing help to develop the fields. The Sabah agriculture department had total failed its role and dirty.

Sabah DAP wants to see immediately the government to set up a special department or body to manage the paddy production. It will be responsible on all the field development, infrastructure development, on technological advancement, and market handling. There should have real professional agriculturist, engineers, marketing personals, and definitely no political appointees. If this can be carried out and implemented, we shall see more rice production in the future.

(Pic 1 – Old Irrigation control gate / Pic 2 – abandoned paddy field / Pic 3 – visit to KB field / Pic 4 – Small earth drain unable to irrigate big field / Pic 5 – still using bamboo to shore earth drain / Pic 6 – small earth ditch unable to deliver enough water)

By Dr. Hiew King Cheu. KK MP

当进行流动服务的沙巴民主行动党团队受邀前往哥打毛律巡视该处的稻田。 这次巡视的目的是要了解该区稻米种植所面临的种种问题。 白米是日常主要食品,但是受到许多因素的影响导致生产供应下降。 若以其他的国家相比,本州的稻田至少落后五十年。 出产白米的国家,如缅甸,越南,泰国,柬埔寨,印度,中国,美国,澳洲和印尼都拥有很先进的稻田,而他们都能够出口白米到世界各地。 非常遗憾的说,沙巴州的稻米耕种技术和稻田仍然停留在一九五零年的时代。

国阵政府宣布多项计划,以促进和增加稻米的生产,并且给予拨款,补助金,提高津贴和提供各种援助,但直到今天,仍然看不到稻米生产有任何的改善和提高。 本州有很多稻田可以生产白米,但却需要大量进口外国米。 沙巴州每年进口约七亿七千万马币的白米(二十二万吨)来养活人民,而却只能种出 3 %白米的需求。 问题到底在那里?所有的拨款用在什么地方? 可能政府认为进口白米比自己耕种来的容易得多!所以政府为何要担心呢?可能高官还有的‘捞’呢!

这次前往哥打毛律的流动服务活动中,看到为何沙巴州的稻米生产没有任何提升的迹象。 令人震惊的是政府几乎没有认真努力帮助贫穷的农民。 本州的稻米生产能力和条件远远落后于其他稻米生产国。他们的田地是经过周密策划和管理,高收成的优良技术,良好的基本设施,并且拥有现代化的机械和耕种技术。当回头看我们的稻田,根本是无法比较,因为本州的稻田仍处于落后栽种的阶段。 目前稻米种植的领域仍然面临陈旧的泥沟排水系统,水利灌溉的缺乏,缺少道路,不均衡的田地,害虫和飞鸟的问题,缺乏合适的机械操作和人力,也几乎没有任何政府的援助。 目前的稻米种植是由私人界和甘邦稻农在运作,其资源是非常有限的。

邱庆洲博士及流动服务队,花了两个小时的时间巡视哥打毛律的稻田,遗憾地看到目前稻田的情况及条件非常的差,并且了解稻农们和米较所面对的困境和问题。 邱博士说,在沙巴州如果要增加稻米的生产,有许多工作需要做。 政府在过去一直以来忽视稻米种植的重要性,单单依靠进口米,促使沙巴州大量的宝贵金钱外流。 有这么多肥沃的土地已经空置着,而且长满毫无价值的野草,就是因为国阵政府没有好好提供援助来发展稻米的种植。 沙巴州农业部的存在根本是毫无作用。

沙巴民主行动党希望政府立即成立一个专门的部门或机构来管理稻米生产。 而且要负责所有新稻田的开辟,建立基本设施,提升耕种和生产技术及市场管理。 这部门应该有真正的专门农业专家,工程师,市场营销人才,而绝对不能有政治委任及参与。 如果这能够贯彻执行,沙巴州在未来的将来必能够看到更多的稻米生产。

(图1 – 陈旧灌溉控制闸 / 图2 -被遗弃的稻田 / 图3 – 服务队摄于稻田前 / 图4 - 小水沟无法灌溉大面积稻田 / 图5 - 仍在使用竹子护土 / 图6 - 小泥沟供水不足)