KEPALA BATAS – The Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) would start a new project to cultivate a special long-grained rice, said Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
He said to date, Malaysia had to import most of the special rice like fragrant rice from other countries such as Japan and Thailand.
“Malaysia should produce quality rice so that it can be exported, contributing towards the national economy in the future.
“It is time for us to develop our own ability to cultivate this special rice and I have asked MARDI to start the project,” he told reporters after the launch of the MARDI Centre of Excellence in Research and Innovation for Padi, here, today.
He said Malaysia had long managed to produce special padi seeds but farmers here had not used them on a large scale.
“The planting of this special padi takes time and if we start now, it will take five years to plant on a large scale.
“There is a need to go through the various processes such as verifying the padi seeds’ ability and resistance to diseases before being allowed to be grown commercially,” he said.
On another matter, Ahmad Shabery said the ministry was prepared to face the the El Nino phenomenon expected to affect crops and fisheries.
He said the ministry would provide water pumps to areas likely to experience a dry spell due to the phenomenon.
According to the Malaysian Meteorological Department, the hot and dry weather prevailing in Perlis and Kedah, is expected to go on throughout the peninsula from the end of January to March. – BERNAMA