Abang Johari speaks to reporters at the press conference Gedong today. – Photo by Sam Chua

KUCHING (Nov 11): Sarawak will be able to produce 240,000 tonnes of rice a year with the use of hybrid rice seeds from Vietnam, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said the hybrid rice seeds will be planted in Lubok Punggor for the pilot project, will be multiplied and planted in 10,000 hectares of area identified by the state government for paddy planting.

“The seeds, we can also produce them once we get them and then multiply them. The hybrid seed is originally from Vietnam but it will be grown in Lubok Punggor to produce more seedlings. Those seedlings will be for the whole of Sarawak.

“One seed is able to produce about 40 stalks of padi. This is because, when you plant padi using this seed – first month, second month, third month – you can harvest. The fourth month you leave it free, and then you can collect all the waste and turn it into fertiliser and this will enrich the land,” he told reporters at the Dewan Datuk Patinggi Ali here in Gedong today.

He said using the hybrid seeds would also encourage paddy farmers to shift their method of cultivation.

He explained that the use of the hybrid rice seeds developed in Lubok Punggor would not only increase the input intensity but also its growth productivity rate.

“And we can learn from Vietnam and the results of our efforts in Lubok Punggor. The government has identified 10,000 hectares for us to produce paddy and rice for the state of Sarawak, because a year, 24 tonnes per hectare, you multiply by 10,000 hectares that we will develop in Lubok Punggor, Spaoh, Tanjung Bijan and also Tanjung Purun in Lundu.

“This means Sarawak will produce 240,000 tonnes of rice (a year). If we are able to produce 240,000 tonnes, this means our rice production has a surplus and this can be used for food downstream activity,” he said.

Earlier, in his speech at the TV Sarawak Prihatin programme, Abang Johari said Sarawak’s rice production currently was only at three tonnes per hectare per harvest.

“I have shared our pilot project in Gedong with other states during meetings with chief ministers and Menteri Besars with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“I shared to them that we will produce rice in three seasons one year by using hybrid seeds from Vietnam,” he said.