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15 NOV 2020

SERDANG: The Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) has produced a new variety of padi known as MR 315 which produces better yield and is more disease resistant.

Director of its Padi and Rice Research Centre, Dr Asfaliza Ramli said the new padi variety, which is expected to be introduced in two years, was developed since 2011 from a cross between the parent variety MR 253 and MR 263.

“MR 315 is produced in accordance with weather changes and soil conditions. We produce certain types of padi for better yield and resistance to major diseases and crop pest,” she said in an interview with Bernama at the MARDI headquarters here recently.

She said the production of the new padi variety was one of the successes by MARDI in its padi cross-breeding programme.

Apart from that, Asfaliza said MARDI had also drawn up the development of about 10 new padi varieties for the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) specifically for padi farming areas, non-padi farming areas,  drought, salt water and hill paddy.

“We expect in the next five years, all the varieties can be introduced to help solve the problems faced by farmers," she said, adding that developing padi variety involved certain processes, starting from screening and evaluating quality seeds before it is tabled to the Government Assistance Committee for Padi and Rice Industry, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry (MAFI).

She said a padi variety that has been confirmed by MAFI will then undergo the process of producing the seedlings, after which they would be given to nine manufacturers appointed by MAFI.

She said MARDI would ensure that the new rice varieties produced were fresher and better, as well as meet the taste of consumers, in accordance with the tagline 'Eat Rice, Remember MARDI'.

MARDI, she said, also works closely with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to produce quality variety of rice seeds.

“We have been producing padi variety based on what consumers want. From white rice to fragrant rice and now there is colored rice, which gives added value to ordinary rice and also to meet the needs of the market," she said.

She said that since 1969, MARDI has declared 50 padi varieties for farmers, with each variety having its own advantages in terms of resistance to disease, yield and taste.

“Genetic diversity in the ecosystem of padi planting is important to give more choice to farmers,  besides ensuring that the country's supply of staple food is always guaranteed," she said, adding that more than 95 per cent of the padi planting areas in Malaysia use padi varieties produced by MARDI. - Bernama

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