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Higher yield from new hybrid paddy varieties

Two hybrid varieties, Sembada B9 and Sembada 188, have potential to be planted in Brunei

BY Achong Tanjong

A RESEARCH collaboration project on hybrid paddy varieties between the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood and PT Biogene Plantation from the Republic of Indonesia has been going on for three planting seasons from 2016 to 2018.

The research is being conducted at the Wasan Agricultural Development Area, Mukim Pengkalan Batu.

The project aims to find out whether the hybrid paddy varieties developed by PT Biogene Plantation are capable of producing high yields (over 8.5 metric tonnes per hectare (mt/ha) per season) consistently in the irrigated areas of Brunei Darussalam.

The research project is one of several research collaboration projects undertaken by the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) through the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood together with foreign institutions in its efforts to raise local rice production beyond the benchmark set by the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood – ie 8.5mt/ha/season – and increase the country’s rice self-sufficiency levels.

According to the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood, from the research conducted, two hybrid paddy varieties – Sembada B9 and Sembada 188 – have been identified as potential strains suitable to be planted in Brunei Darussalam to help boost domestic rice production.

Dr Ir I Indiarto, Senior Advisor at PT Biogene Plantation, Indonesia and delegation with officers from the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood during the harvesting session recently. – PHOTOS: ACHONG TANJONG

Under preliminary trials, the selection of these hybrid varieties for the purpose of studying their production capability in this country is based on their high yield potential, ie 12mt/ha/season in some parts of Indonesia such as Java.

During the first (May – August 2016) and second (May – August 2017) planting seasons, both paddy varieties were able to consistently produce 5-6mt/ha/season. Harvesting for the third season has already begun and both varieties are expected to achieve a yield of around 6mt/ha/season.

The prime reason for lower yields in Brunei Darussalam compared to Indonesia is down to soil issues – the soil here is generally of the acid sulphate type and acidic, which is not optimum for maximum output for this paddy variety.

Nevertheless, the yield for both Sembada B9 and Sembada 188 are still higher compared to the average yield of the Laila variety which is 3mt/ha/season. This is significant as it means that the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood has successfully identified varieties capable of producing twice the average yield of Laila paddy.

Apart from this research collaboration with PT Biogene Plantation, the MPRT has also established research collaborations in hybrid paddy varieties with Yuan Longping High-Tech Agriculture Co Ltd from the People’s Republic of China.

Meanwhile, co-operation on the production of hybrid rice (titih) is currently in the seed supply phase, with seeds being provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

In addition, the MPRT is continuously working on improving the skills and expertise of its officers and staff as well as farmers and preparing them for the upcoming large-scale hybrid paddy planting by having them undergo training courses on hybrid rice technology.

This large-scale paddy planting is scheduled to be carried out in a few stages in the irrigated areas of the country beginning in May.

Present to witness the paddy harvesting at the Wasan Agricultural Development Area recently were Dr Ir I Indiarto, a senior advisor at PT Biogene Plantation, Indonesia and his delegation.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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