Poverty-stricken rice farmers grateful for Bernas move to share profits
07 Dec 2022, 00:00 AM SGT
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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 7): Having been plagued by poverty for so long, rice farmers hope that things will look up with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s announcement that Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) will share profits with poor rice farmers.
They described the Prime Minister's action as a determined move by the government to help farmers who live from hand to mouth.
Bernas has agreed to distribute an allocation of RM10 million to poor rice farmers nationwide this month while another RM50 million will be distributed next year.
In Perlis, rice farmers expressed their gratitude for the announcement and hoped that it can help reduce poverty.
Razali Salam, 70, from Kampung Surau, Kangar said that after being stuck in poverty for so long, he hopes that the government's initial steps can change his fate and that of farmers across the country by sharing the nation's wealth equally.
"Many people assume that 'buat bendang' (planting rice) can make you rich but the fact is those making big profits are the 'taukeh' (businessmen) and not us rice farmers," said Razali who began rice farming at the age of 18.
Ismail Saidin, 55, said despite the uncertain global economic situation today, he hopes the government can consider helping the rice farmers and rubber tappers who have been having it tough for a long time by introducing a monthly subsistence allowance.
"We've been having it hard for a long time, it would help if the government introduces RM200 a month living allowance to help ease the cost of living," said the father of four.
In Kedah, rice farmers in Kampung Putat, Jitra welcomed the good news in the government's efforts to address the issue of poverty and hoped that the government could channel the allocation by providing various facilities.
Mohd Hakim Mohd Saad, 53, said this is because they are faced with a situation where the milling quality rate was high, which is more than 20%.
The rice farmer who has 30 years of experience said the new government needs to help rice farmers deal with the issue because it affects the income of rice farmers since capital, including the cost of input materials such as pesticides, is now increasing.
Another rice farmer, Abdul Ghani Md Zain, 48, hopes that the profit allocation will be channelled to the rice farmers to help ease their burden in facing hikes in the cost of input materials.
Zurin Jamaludin, 47, said he welcomed the announcement of the aid to rice farmers but hoped the government could focus on the problems of rice farmers, including the issue of improving the quality of drainage systems in rice fields.
In Selangor, a rice farmer in Kampung Sawah Sempadan, Tanjong Karang, Fairuzzaini Mohd Toif, 38, was happy with the assistance, but also hoped that the allocation of RM10 million will be channelled in the form of subsidies, especially for the purchase of input goods including fertilisers and pesticides which have become increasingly expensive.
"For example, the price of fertiliser for a (padi field) lot was about RM100 last year. But now it has doubled every time there is a new planting season and this is burdening rice farmers because they have to spend more,” he said.