KUCHING – Adan rice farmers in Bario, Ba’kelalan, Long Semadoh in Miri Division and Long Pasia in Sabah want a formal organic certification for their world famous rice.
Their spokesperson Lilia Raja said the rice, commonly known as Bario rice, was being threatened by the absence of such certification for organic product which existed in other countries.
“We would want for Adan rice to be certified as organic rice under the Malaysia Organic Certification (MyOrganic) under the Malaysia’s Good Agricultural Practices (MyGAP),” she said when representing Formadat (Alliance of the Indigenous Peoples in the Highlands of Borneo) from the Miri Division interiors here Tuesday.
She said the communities too were struggling to keep the production sustainable because of the lack of marketing and sales support from the government.
“We welcome some forms of mechanisation projects in the highlands for areas with insufficient workforce,” she said.
Lilia said the farmers were also concerned with inappropriate land use surrounding the watershed areas that caused polluted water to enter the paddy fields resulting in poor harvests.
“We, therefore, would like to request the government to support our efforts and apply appropriate measures to protect them,” she said.
On security, she said the absence of border controls had created problems in terms of economic growth and the wellbeing of communities at the border in Ba’kelalan.
“Hence, we request the government to work with its Indonesian counterpart to speed up the implementation of a proper border post in Ba’kelalan.
“We need adequate facilities to prevent and stop crimes and smuggling activities,” she added.