Move to cultivate paddy using underground water aimed at tackling effects of drought

Move to cultivate paddy using underground water aimed at tackling effects of drought

PASIR PUTEH: The government will implement a paddy planting method using an underground water system in preparation for the expected worse hot weather next year. Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security’s Paddy Industry Development Division secretary Datuk Azman Mahmood said the system is found to be more effective as it could control and prevent reliance on rainwater.

He said the pilot project of this method was implemented at the Batang Lupar Integrated Agricultural Development (IADA) granary area in Sarawak and, if effective, it will be expanded nationwide.

“Based on the current weather conditions, paddy planting can no longer fully depend just on rainwater and drainage,” he told reporters at the dialogue and launch of the rice harvest ceremony in conjunction with the Kemasin IADA Large-Scale Smart Padi Field (SMART SBB) programme in Semerak here today.

Azman said water resources could become limited in the future, besides competing with domestic use, with paddy cultivation requiring sufficient water to ensure a quality harvest.
Meanwhile, the use of paddy seeds that are more resistant to weather and diseases will be used to overcome the current weather changes.

“We plan to introduce 12 varieties of seeds for that purpose, which we found can be harvested within 80 days as is practised in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam compared to 110 days as practised in Malaysia currently.

“We expect these seeds to be used by farmers as early as 2026 because they are still in the study plots for us to see their suitability for the weather in Malaysia,” he said.
He added that the use of these seeds in a shorter period would enable all rice granaries to practice planting paddy twice a year, thus increasing the country’s rice output.

“So far, only 60 per cent of the paddy area is planted twice a year in Malaysia, while the other 40 per cent is cultivated once a year,” he said.

— BERNAMA

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