RQ3: What are the issues and challenges encounter by both paddy rice industry and farmers based on designated allocations?
Rice has always been one of main commodities of Malaysian community and paddy rice industry also considered as the strategic industry which always gets special treatment by the government. Apart from that, rice production assists the individuals upto172, 000 paddy farmers in this country. With the several types of trade operate currently such as international trade, trade liberalization and trade import to compete, Malaysia must highly protect the domestic resource of the country which is rice otherwise this can lead to the problem of instability the rice prices in the market.
One of the most common issues faced by paddy rice industry and farmers is the irrigation system. Irrigation plays significant role in assisting and improving the standard of these sectors which later it can transfer into the amount of money when the products are sold. So, it cannot deny that irrigation is also considered as a main part of these two sectors. Without having a proper management of irrigation, it would lead the impact on it as a whole. How the water supply can lead to a problem as a whole? It is because when the water supply is not in a good condition then people can migrate into industrial sector, this leads to the shortage of labor and land. So, it can see that there is a flow of farm labor into other sectors of economy, when there is higher wages provided. This scenario, therefore, may lead to the reduction in rice production, decreased in self-sufficiency level and increase in import. So, the implementation of irrigation system will help to preserve water and to increase the growth of plants or crops which later it can utilize further in the agricultural production.
Currently, Malaysia has 932 irrigation schemes which covering about 413,700 operated throughout Malaysia including in Sabah for 20 irrigation schemes. Malaysia uses this for rice development in order to maintain the degree of self-sufficiency in rice production and to assist the lessen poverty among smallholder rice farmers. It is because if the government cannot manage the system properly, the famers or people who do agriculture in rural areas would turn their jobs into the industrial sector. Then this would create the shortage of labor and lack of the domestic production provided by farmers themselves. Therefore, it can see one of major issues concerning for paddy rice industry and farmers is about irrigation system.
Previously, Malaysia had a long problem history of planting rice under the rain areas located along with the flood plains of river till the early 1900s which the large scale of irrigation systems were introduced. However, although the irrigation system associated with water resources mainly like river and rainfall, government still needs to proper manage it. It is because in Malaysia, from May to August are the dry months in which the water can be dropped. This can led to the agriculture drought. So, in order to ensure the continuously water supply, all the irrigation plans operated must be operational performance.
For example, one of the largest irrigation assistance projects provided by government expenditure called “Muda Irrigation Scheme”. This project operates in the states of Kedah (specifically in Western) and Perlis in order to provide water for two crops of paddy per year in the area of 261,500 acres. During that time, there are 16,000 smallholder paddies farming families or 340,000 people under this project. As a result of implementing this assistance module, it was found that the income of paddy farmers under this project area is RM 2162.70 per month. The paddy rice also contributes more than 70% of the total income received. So, this shows the positive result of having such assistance system for the farmers in the rural areas. It is because they rely heavily on the paddy crops as the main source of income for their livelihoods which depended on the rice production. If they have less rice production, it will definitely effect to their family members. Although people in that particular area depend mostly on rice production, they also plant others that can consider to be resources of salary such as vegetable production, rental received based on the size of land and the monthly payment from children but, again, the main income lies from rice production.
Therefore, from the illustration above, we can see that the farmers who are involved and being under the Muda irrigation system which given by the government is effective in improving the farmer incomes and to increase the individual standard of living. Apart from that, in order to develop the paddy farmer’s salaries, their farm also needed to be expanded and enhanced to gain more profits. Government also should ensure that there are markets which can support and encourage the paddy famers to be sold at the highest level otherwise the production would not transform anything in return
Besides, another issue which requires the attention of government is the management the irrigation system towards the farms. How the government should provide this assistance to famers and what are factors that influence to the decision making. It is because there are connection between budget and other factors such as the size of farms, the different planting durations due to environmental factor, condition in soil and the canal. All these details should be examined very carefully otherwise the implementation of irrigation system would not be really effective. It can be a waste of resources if government does not really have a proper plan before making a decision. This is because each decision made is linked with the government budget. Hence, it is government responsibility to select irrigation schemes with a proper designed for rice cultivation.
With this issue,