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February 2024
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Ba Kelalan farmers reap benefits of sustainable rice farming project

Invited guests and farmers in a group photo inside the newly-completed storeroom. – Photo from WWF-Malaysia

KUCHING (Feb 2): A total 88 farmers in Ba Kelalan are now benefitting from the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), a sustainable farming project supported by the World Wide Fund for Nature Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia) in partnership with CIMB Islamic Bank Berhad.

WWF-Malaysia in a statement said the SRI began as a pilot project in Long Langai, one of the villages in Ba Kelalan with only 12 farmers in 2017.

It has now expanded its reach to four neighbouring villages, namely Buduk Bui, Long Rangat, Long Lemutut, and Long Kumap.

WWF-Malaysia said this expansion reflects the positive impact and widespread acceptance of the SRI as it promotes chemical-free farming, and employs targeted methods to reduce pests like the golden apple snail.

“The SRI rice farming project stands as a shining example of how collaboration between local communities, corporate partners, and conservation organisations can create a lasting positive impact on both people and the environment.

“It provides a win-win situation for farmers and ecosystems by increasing paddy yield and sustaining income while minimising the need for clearing more forests for rice cultivation. Moreover, the chemical-free approach keeps rivers clean and reduces environmental impacts,” said WWF-Malaysia.

It disclosed that the recent completion of a storeroom was held recently and marked one of the project’s achievements, symbolising another key milestone and continued empowerment of the community.

“The SRI Task Force will oversee the operations of the storeroom, ensuring that all SRI farmers adhere to the facility’s usage guidelines. This facility serves as a valuable resource for storing machinery, as well as processing and storing paddy,” it added.

A close up of the rice harvested from this project. – Photo from WWF-Malaysia

The storeroom was declared open recently and attended by the SRI Task Force chairman Ria Gugkang Sakai, WWF-Malaysia associate director (Sarawak and Conservation Science) Dr Jason Hon, Antares Ventures managing director Brendan Kon, as well as representatives from CIMB Islamic.

Hon in the statement said that those who purchase SRI-farmed rice from Ba Kelalan can feel reassured that they are not only contributing to sustainable agriculture but also to the preservation of the environment through the collective actions of the farmers.

The SRI rice farming project also provides a win-win situation for farmers and ecosystems by increasing paddy yield and sustaining income while minimising the need for clearing more forests for rice cultivation.

Moreover, the chemical-free approach keeps rivers clean and reduces environmental impacts.

Irrigation water is sourced from the surrounding hills, requiring the laying of kilometre-long pipes purchased by the project but installed by the farmers themselves through a gotong-royong approach.

Additionally, WWF-Malaysia’s monitoring has shown that the Ba Kelalan catchment, approximately 7,000 hectares in size, has remained intact with good forest cover.

https://www.theborneopost.com/2024/02/02/ba-kelalan-farmers-reap-benefits-of-sustainable-rice-farming-project/ QR Code

Published Date: February 2, 2024

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