He said the areas should be planted with padi to help shore up the state's self-sufficiency in rice production.
"There are areas suitable for padi planting but have been turned into housing areas or oil palm plantation.This should not happen as there are many other areas which can be used," he told reporters after opening the Kampung Benoni padi planting pioneer project managed by Mardi on Friday Feb 5.
Yahya, who is the Agriculture and Food Industry Minister, said Sabah should be able to achieve 30 per cent self-sufficiency in rice production as it had huge areas suitable for padi planting.
He added that of the 35,600 hectares of land suitable for padi planting, 27,500 hectares were productive land while the rest were idle land. The 11.02-hectare Kampung Benoni pioneer project is one of 13 locations nationwide chosen to implement Mardi's research support service and technology promotion programme.
Earlier Yahya visited the padi planting rehabilitation project on a 40-hectare area in Kampung Langkawit near here.
The area is part of 109.65 hectares of idle land in the area. Yahya said the project had been upgraded with the provision of a 3.3km irrigation and drainage facility costing RM1.8 million. Forty-four farmers began planting padi in the area since October last year,he added.- Bernama
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