UKM rice-es to the need

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UKM reaps a successful harvest after a 16-year research. PIX/Ikhwan Hashim

BY ASMAHANIM AMIR

SEMANGGOL, PERAK: Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) has produced a new variety of high quality white rice that is durable, through a new innovation process involving cross breeding wild rice species and local rice species for the first time in Malaysia.

That process is cross breed process between local high quality rice namely Oryza sativa and
wild rice namely Oryza rufipogon, obtained from International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines, through the controlled pollination.

The research conducted for 16 years by UKM researcher, Prof Dr Wickineswari Ratnam from Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) with former researcher from Malaysia Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), Abdullah Md Zain have found that local varieties of rice varieties can be increased by 20 percent using genes found in
wild rice species.

Prof Dr Wickineswari said the wild rice species have potential in enhancing features such as
resistance to flooding, disease, pest infestations and increased revenue.

“The research shows that UKMRC-2 can produce 12 tonnes of white rice per hectare and
resistant to disease, especially karah leaf disease.

“The UKMRC-2 seeds can live well even though submerged in flood about two to three weeks. The quality of rice also good with long rice is 3.5mm,” she explained.

For UKMRC-8, she said the yields obtained for one hectare of paddy is 14 tonnes of white rice per hectare with low crushed rice level.

“The UKMRC-8 seeds also can live well although it submerged in flood in the same period with UKMRC-2, and the length of a UKMRC-8 white rice is 3.68mm, which is medium length compare with ordinary rice (MR219) on the market,” she said.

She said UKMRC-2 and UKMRC-8 white rice has a low starch level.

“When we cook that rice, the rice is not sticky and seperated,” she explained.

Both variety rice has been approved by Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry to
be marketed to farmers.

Meanwhile, farmers who cultivate the UKMRC-2 and UKMRC-8, Khairul Abdul Rahman said yield obtained for the two variety is more than ordinary rice that he cultivate before this.

“Both variety (UKMRC-2 and UKMRC-8) more easily maintained, because the process of planting much easier.

“I do not have to remove the water from the paddy fields because the seeds can grow in
the water,” he said.

He said the maturity period for both variety also fast which is between 105 days until 110 days.

“UKMRC-2 and UKMRC-8 more durable and resistant to disease. I plan to cultivate both
varieties for eight hectare that I have,” he said.

Khairul has been involved in paddy cultivation for 12 years.

The research conducted to improve the country’s rice yields is a collaboration between UKM, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) through a total grant of RM3 million. — UKM News Portal