PUTRAJAYA – ASEAN member countries should make concerted efforts to curb the spread of common pests and diseases attacking padi fields in this region such as the bacterial leaf blight (BLB), said Muda Agricultural Development Authority (Mada) chairman, Datuk Othman Aziz.
He said it was essential for researchers in this region to work together to solve the common problems to ensure stable supply of rice, the staple food for over 600 million people in this region.
“Last year, Mada had planted about 100,000 hectares of rice and we lost around RM120 million to this disease (BLB).
“BLB and other diseases are a repetitive problem and so far, we don’t have a real solution to overcome this. So they (researchers) must come up with a new variety that is resistant to this disease.”
Othman said this to reporters after the opening of the 35th ASEAN Food Security Reserve Board (AFSRB) meeting, here, today.
The two-day meeting will be focusing on the stability of food prices, strengthening food production base and long-term trade opportunities among ASEAN countries.
The meeting is also expected to discuss the latest development of the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) programme and ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS).
The meeting is attended by 40 representatives from 10 ASEAN member countries, namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam. – BERNAMA