The Kelantan government has lauded Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's idea of consolidating padi field operations in the country.
Deputy Menteri Besar Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah termed the idea interesting, but said that it should be followed up by research from relevant agencies, such as the Kemubu Agriculture Department (Kada) and Muda Agriculture Development Authority (Mada).
"The idea is interesting, but the initiative should have come from the responsible parties because we have Mada, Kada, and we have the Agriculture Department. They should be at the forefront of this good plan.
"And if the effort is done with thorough and careful research, the state government is willing to extend its cooperation.
"Research is important to look into the pros and cons, as this would involve padi fields owned by individuals," he told reporters after attending a meeting at the Tanah Merah District Council earlier today.
Mahathir told a press conference in Alor Setar yesterday that padi smallholders should consolidate their fields for greater income generation.
He cautioned that not doing so would see smallholders will remain among the poorest in the country and continue to depend on subsidies.
On this, Amar said the execution of the plan would require the cooperation of padi planters and landowners.
"What we see today is that padi fields are worked on individually, so it might not be so profitable. If they combine, it can be a plantation.
"That is an interesting idea and can be discussed," he said.