04/04/2024 05:45 PM

KUCHING, April 4 (Bernama) -- The innovative drip irrigation system developed by the Centre for Technology Excellence Sarawak (CENTEXS) for padi cultivation is expected to help increase Sarawak’s self-sufficiency level (SSL) for rice.

CENTEXS chief executive officer Datuk Syeed Mohd Hussein Wan Abdul Rahman said the system, which is being implemented at a one-acre rice testbed at CENTEXS Kuching, was started in December last year.

He said drip irrigation is a technique that delivers water directly to the root zone of plants in a slow and controlled manner through a network of tubes, pipes and emitters.

“When applied to padi cultivation, drip irrigation can help in water efficiency, improved nutrient management, disease control, and reduced labour and energy costs.

“Based on this precision farming, we expect 20 to 40 per cent higher yield compared to the conventional method. It will also give you more precise results,” he said in his speech during the CENTEXS Padi Testbed harvesting programme here today. 

On Nov 28 last year, Sarawak's Minister of Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said as of 2022, Sarawak had produced 85,700 tonnes of rice, representing 5.1 per cent of the national production and 34 per cent of the state's SSL.

Dr Rundi said his ministry will continue to develop padi cultivation infrastructure as one of the intervention measures to increase rice production in the state.

He said that so far, more than 30 existing Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) Scheme areas covering over 10,000 hectares have been identified for padi cultivation.