Tuesday, October 19

Ministry to conserve water catchment areas

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Junz observing the draining system at Kampung Kuangoh, Keningau paddy field.

KENINGAU: State Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Datuk Junz Wong said his ministry will work with the relevant authorities on proposals to conserve certain water catchment areas (which some have already been encroached) to ensure continuous sustainability of water supply for the community and farmers in Keningau areas.

The minister cautioned it would not be easy but we have to work out a long-term solution as water catchment is essential for upkeeping life.

He said this to reporters after his “turun padang” programme at Kg Kuangoh paddy field together with the village chief, paddy farmers’ head and community leaders from Bingkor to check and understand more on the Bingkor, Kuangoh and Transpegalan irrigation scheme/system.

Junz was made to understand some farmers at the far end of the field cannot receive good sufficient supply of water.

Accompanying the minister were State Agriculture Advisor Datuk Yap, as well as deputy directors of the Sabah Agriculture and Drainage and Irrigation Departments.

Junz and the group visited the pump house where the water source was and traced all the way down from the few intake points to the field, including checking on the drainage size.

The minister also discussed with the officers on several methods to make the system more efficient as the current irrigation system has been built for at least two decades without upgrading.
Junz said they also discussed on the proposal to upgrade a RM5.9 million pump house at Kg Baginda, Bingkor to ensure sufficient water supply to over 1400 hectares of paddy fields serving 17 villages along the way.
Meanwhile, Junz informed a dialogue would be held with the farmers in the area.

“We need everyone to work together as farmers on the upstream must play their roles by closing the gate once their fields are filled with sufficient water and allow the rest of the farmers on the downstream to get water supply for paddy farming,” he stressed.

“All in the village need to work together in order for all to get good water supply and achieve good yield and result,” He added.