KUCHING: Sarawak’s rice yield is set to increase through a hybrid rice programme carried out in collaboration between the state government and Bayer CropScience.
The state Agriculture Department and Bayer CropScience signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the two-year partnership yesterday following a successful trial last year.
Under the partnership, the department and Bayer CropScience will work together towards enhancing Sarawak’s rice self-sufficiency level using Bayer’s hybrid rice varieties Arize 6444 Gold and Arize Tej Gold.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, who witnessed the MoU signing at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here, said Bayer carried out a pilot project of its hybrid varieties at the Tanjung Seduru scheme in Sri Aman last year.
The hybrid rice was planted on 10ha of land by 23 families.
“The farmers used to harvest 2.6 tonnes of paddy per ha from planting the local rice variety. When Bayer came in, the yield from their hybrid variety was 5.7 tonnes per ha, which is more than double the previous harvest,” Jabu said.
With the MoU, Bayer will develop 50ha this year and another 50ha next year with the hybrid varieties, reaching a total of 200ha by 2017.
Besides providing hybrid seeds, Bayer CropScience will provide technical advice on hybrid rice planting to strengthen cooperation and knowledge sharing for sustainable rice production.
“Sustainability, which means future viability, forms an integral part of Bayer’s business strategy and we are firmly committed to the principles of sustainable development in agriculture production,” Bayer CropScience Malaysia country head Mohan Babu said.
“In this respect, we are pleased to partner with the state government to drive sustainable rice production in Sarawak and be part of the government’s efforts to provide paddy farmers with sustainable solutions for more efficient rice production.”
According to Bayer CropScience, hybrid rice offers higher yields and better tolerance to pests such as bacterial leaf blight and brown plant hopper. It is also more tolerant to stress such as salinity and excessive flooding compared to traditional varieties.