KEPALA BATAS: Two new varieties of padi developed by the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) are set to hike Malaysia’s rice yields.
Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said the two new varieties, MR315 and MRQ104, took 10 to 12 years to develop by Mardi researchers at a cost of RM5mil each.
“These varieties are more disease resistant, tolerant of weather changes and the soil conditions of our country, ” he said after introducing the varieties at the Mardi Centre of Excellence for Research and Innovation in Padi here yesterday.
Kiandee named the MR315 as Seri Waja and MRQ104 as Kembang Sari at the ceremony where he also visited the rice gene bank.
The new varieties will be made available to farmers in the next planting season by the middle of the year.
Coupled with the variable rate technology (VRT) method for padi farming, Kiandee said these new varieties will encourage large-scale commercial operations in group plantations or estates.
The VRT method of seed sowing and fertilisation will improve crop growth, reduce use of fertiliser by between 15% and 25%, and be more environment-friendly, he said.