TANJONG KARANG, June 5: The farmers in Sungai Burong and Sekinchan are dissatisfied and disappointed with the drop in the prices of paddy purchase offered by Padiberas Nasional (Bernas) in their area.
Many farmers claimed that Bernas now buys paddy from them at RM1,150 per metric tonne. That is RM130 less that the price of RM1,280 per tonne offered to farmers in Tanjong Karang.
They claim that the reduction of about RM130 per tonne has caused substantial losses to farmers who cultivate and sell paddy twice a year.
A farmer, Samsuddin Hussain, 62, claims that the farmers have been manipulated by unscrupulous people for lowering prices indiscriminately after farmers work hard to grow paddy.
“Farmers seem to be not taken care off. Like we’re being played. As though farmers do not have self-worth while they are the nation’s food producers.
“This is what we are unsatisfied about; with the problem of price of paddy which is being lowered. If it is lowered in all areas, we would not feel it that badly,” he said.
Samsuddin was found with nearly 200 farmers who held a peaceful demonstration in front of the Bernas Factory here in Sekinchan yesterday.
It is estimated that in Sungai Burong, Sekinchan and Sabak Bernam, 5,000 farmers are affected by the decline of the Bernas price.
Also present was the Exco for Islamic Affairs, Agricultural Modernisation and Rural Development, Sallehin Mukhyi and Sekinchan Assemblyman, Ng Swee Lim.
Meanwhile, Sallehin, who is also the Sabak Assemblyman said that the decline of RM100 per metric tonne is very burdensome because planting paddy is the main business of the people in Sekinchan up to Sabak Bernam.
“The decline of RM100 is small, but if it is 10 metric tonnes? They (farmers) would already have lost RM1,000 and RM1,000 is too much as it can be very useful for farmers.
“Even the RM1,000 has already exceeded the 1Malaysia People’s Assistance Grants (BR1M) of RM500 last year,” he said.
He said that the Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob must take an immediate approach to solve this problem before the harvest period ends.
In the meantime, another farmer, Samudin Abdullah, 47, expressed disappointment because after spending a huge cost to increase paddy production, the price has been lowered.
“We are different from farmers in other states. Farmers in Selangor spend a lot on agriculture. For example; the high rental rates, the price pesticides are expensive. So when the price of paddy decreases, we will strongly feel the loss,” he said.