New weather-resistant paddy varieties expected for cultivation in 2025 – Arthur

KUALA LUMPUR, July 4 (Bernama) — The country’s new paddy varieties, designed to be more resilient to unpredictable weather changes such as droughts and floods, are expected to be cultivated in 2025 and 2026 as part of a food security measure, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Deputy Agriculture and Food Security Minister Datuk Arthur Joseph Kurup said that the ministry, through the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), is currently conducting research on these paddy varieties.

“MARDI has already started researching the new paddy varieties. Field studies have been conducted, and we anticipate that these new varieties will be in use by 2025 and 2026,” he said during the oral question and answer session.

He was responding to a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Hasni Mohammad (BN-Simpang Renggam) regarding additional strategies to address the risks of climate change in the country’s agricultural sector.

In response to Hasni’s original question about the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security’s (MAFS) preparations to tackle weather uncertainty in agriculture, Arthur said that the ministry has requested the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) to implement Phase 2 of the cloud seeding operation in agricultural areas affected by hot and dry weather.

He said the effort was part of MAFS’ immediate measures to address the effects of climate change, in line with the National Agrofood Policy 2.0.

“For example, to tackle the issue of drought in the Kemubu Agricultural Development Authority (KADA) area in Kelantan, the first phase of cloud seeding operations was conducted from June 21 to 23 last year. Following this operation, moderate to heavy rain was recorded on June 21 in the target areas of Gua Musang and Pasir Puteh,” he said.

Additionally, he mentioned that MAFS implements a rainwater harvesting system and searches for underground water sources through a tube well system to address the lack of water resources during the dry season. The ministry also uses mulching to maintain plant moisture.

Arthur noted that a total of 251 tube wells and 246 mobile pumps have been prepared by MAFS to meet the needs of farmers and livestock breeders in areas affected by disasters such as floods and droughts.

“Furthermore, we carry out regular maintenance of the agricultural irrigation and drainage system every year to ensure the infrastructure functions properly, with RM80 million allocated this year for that purpose.

“This year, MAFS has also allocated RM50 million through the Agricultural Disaster Fund and RM12 million for the Paddy Crop Disaster Fund to assist agro-food producers affected by flood disasters,” he said.