By Khairul Anuar Muhamad Noh
Photo by Noor Azreen Awang
JERTEH, Feb 3 – A group of researchers from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) has carried out several pilot projects through the transfer of technology, using the brand name ‘Diu Son,’ to improve the yield and income of paddy planters.
PadiU Putra is a research finding programme generated from the laboratory and ground field and it entails the involvement of paddy farmers who will gain direct benefits from the research.
UPM Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Datin Paduka Dr. Aini Ideris said UPM will continue to assist the country in the field of food security for paddy and rice in which UPM researches will be expanded in order to benefit all paddy farmers.
“Through the allocation from the Ministry of Higher Education in the form of a Long Run Grant Scheme (LRGS), UPM researchers will continue with their research in paddy cultivation to maintain food security for the country.
“A paddy research via LRGS for priority food security areas, led by UPM from 2011 until 2016, has produced a number of innovations that have contributed significantly towards an increase in rice production via several research platforms in main rice bowls such as KADA, MADA and IADA,” she said at a launching ceremony of PadiU Putra here.
Before launching of PadiU Putra, the innovation and research technology were submitted to the farming community through the launch of several new LRGS products and technologies on October 30, 2016, at IADA KETARA Besut, Terengganu, by Higher Education Minister, Dato ‘Seri Idris Jusoh.
As a follow-up to the creation of innovative products and technologies, the Higher Education Ministry had proposed that UPM research team expand their research findings by involving paddy farmers in the country’s main rice bowls. Dato ‘Idris officiated the launch of the second rice technology, UPutra, here.
Meanwhile, according to the Chairman of LRGS Programme For Food Security (UPM Rice Cultivation), Prof Dr Mohd Razi Ismail, despite the outcome of several past research findings, rice farmers were still facing some perennial problems such as climate change, invasion of pests and diseases, infertile soil and others that formed the components that could determine growth and yields.
He said a data revealed that a group of paddy farmers who contributed to more than 70% of paddy production and rice as the staple food of the country, were still living in a low level socio-economic status with a relatively low income compared to others who undertake other agriculture commodities.
“The situation has not changed despite the introduction of policies and initiatives such as subsidies, tax incentives and focus given to paddy farmers by the government.
“This condition can be translated with the rate of self-sufficiency or SSL for rice in the country which is less than 72% (2015),” Prof. Razi pointed out.