Padiberas Nasional Berhad (Bernas) has set an annual target of 40,000 metric tonnes of padi in Sabah through its ‘Projek Rakan Ladang Bernas’ that will involve 3,000 farmers.

This is based on the success of the first yield of its pioneer project in Kota Belud which reflects efforts to plant padi commercially to make Sabah and Sarawak new rice-bowls in the country.

“The success of the pioneer project is proof of the company’s willingness and ability to support the government’s desire to increase yield in Sabah towards increasing rice self-sufficiency of the country in general,” Kota Belud Member of Parliament Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan told Bernama after officiating a thanksgiving feast at Kampung Kesapang here.

“The pioneer project here covers 201ha and involves Kampung Taun Gusi and Kampung Kesapang with the cooperation of the state agriculture department, farmers’ organisations, the Drainage and Irrigation Department and Kilang Padi Sri Bajau Sdn Bhd which is a Bernas milling partner,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bernas chief operating officer, Muhammad Ramdan Yusof said the Bernas planting project would be expanded with an addition of 1,200ha of land annually, covering the areas of Kota Belud and Kota Marudu which will benefit 1,000 farmers per year.