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July 2024

China company keen to work on hybrid rice cultivation

Dr Rundi (fourth right) speaks to Alfred (right) during the visit. At second right is Ling.

SIBU (June 24): China-based Guoying Seed Corporation has expressed its interest to collaborate with Sarawak government to increase its rice production capacity.

According to Wuhan’s Guoying Seed Corporation chairman Ding Junping, their side is willing to share their technical know-how and expertise in the cultivation of hybrid rice.

He added that the climate coupled with ideal soil condition, and more importantly, the stable Sarawak government under Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, were factors influencing their interest to collaborate with the state.

“We are working closely with our local partner, Onemas Agriculture Sdn Bhd, where the trial planting of Honglian hybrid rice at the Sungai Padi experimental station in Bintangor near here has exhibited highly-promising results,” said Ding following a recent working visit to the station in Bintangor, near here.

He said Guoying Seed Corporation hopes to help increase Sarawak’s rice production capacity in a bid to make the state self-sufficient in rice production.

“Of high excellent quality, Honglian hybrid rice was developed in the 1970s by Prof Zhu Yingguo of Wuhan University and has gained recognition in South Asian and Southeast Asian countries namely Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

“Thus, we are confident of helping Sarawak to increase its rice production capacity. But our hope eventually is for Sarawak to produce the hybrid seeds locally, and need not source from overseas,” said Ding.

He assured that China has the best expertise and technical knowledge as far as hybrid rice is concerned.

Onemas Agriculture executive chairman Stephen Sia shared the success story of the pilot project at the Sungai Padi experimental station.

“The local rice variety would take about 150 days to ripen from the date of seed-sowing but the ripening of the hybrid rice would take only 80 days,” he said.

Furthermore, he said the rice production has exceeded its target, yielding 11.08 metric tonnes per hectare, with a grain setting rate of 96.46 per cent, almost devoid of empty shells per panicle.

“In fact, I was informed by Ding that it is possible to yield 13 metric tonnes per hectare due to Sarawak’s climate and soil condition, based on a farmer’s experience in the Philippines who gained a yield of 17 metric tonnes per hectare.

“Hopefully with Sarawak government’s assistance and through our collaboration with Guoying Seed Corporation, we look forward to sharing technical knowledge with local farmers, or even developers and investors,” said Sia.

Meanwhile, Minister of Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom visited the Sungai Padi experimental station yesterday, accompanied by Sarawak Agriculture Department director Dominic Chunggat.

Dr Rundi said the private initiative is being closely monitored by the Agriculture Department to ensure bio-security compliance.

“Once the SOP (standard operating procedure) is adhered to, we will facilitate the implementation of hybrid variety in the paddy industry accordingly to mitigate any adverse effect towards our indigenous varieties, especially our specialty/premium rice,” he told The Borneo Post when contacted.

Onesmas Agriculture chief executive officer Alfred Sia, who briefed Dr Rundi and his team, said Phase 1 of the project involved planting 10 hectares with hybrid Honglian rice, while Phase 2 will involve another 20 hectares.

He also said the rice mill at Sungai Padi is still awaiting power supply connection.

Among those present yesterday were Onemas Agriculture directors Jackie Sia and Peter Ling. QR Code

Published Date: June 24, 2024

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