Picture from The Borneo Post
China-based Guoying Seed Corporation has announced its intention to collaborate with the Sarawak government to enhance the state's rice production capacity. Chairman Ding Junping expressed the company's willingness to share its technical expertise in hybrid rice cultivation, citing Sarawak's favorable climate, ideal soil conditions, and stable governance under Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg as key factors driving their interest.

“We are working closely with our local partner, Onemas Agriculture Sdn Bhd, where the trial planting of Honglian hybrid rice at the Sungai Padi experimental station in Bintangor has shown highly promising results,” Ding shared during a recent visit to the station.

Guoying Seed Corporation aims to help Sarawak become self-sufficient in rice production. The Honglian hybrid rice, developed in the 1970s by Professor Zhu Yingguo of Wuhan University, has already gained recognition in several South and Southeast Asian countries, including Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Vietnam. Ding is confident that Sarawak can increase its rice production capacity and eventually produce hybrid seeds locally, reducing dependency on overseas sources.

Stephen Sia, executive chairman of Onemas Agriculture, highlighted the success of the pilot project at the Sungai Padi experimental station. "The local rice variety takes about 150 days to ripen from the date of seed-sowing, but the hybrid rice ripens in just 80 days," he explained. The project has exceeded its production targets, yielding 11.08 metric tonnes per hectare, with a grain setting rate of 96.46 percent, almost devoid of empty shells per panicle.

Ding added that with Sarawak’s favorable climate and soil conditions, it is possible to achieve even higher yields. He cited a farmer in the Philippines who managed to obtain a yield of 17 metric tonnes per hectare. Sia expressed hope that, with the Sarawak government’s assistance and collaboration with Guoying Seed Corporation, they could share technical knowledge with local farmers, developers, and investors.

Minister of Food Industry, Commodity, and Regional Development Dato Sri Dr. Stephen Rundi Utom visited the Sungai Padi experimental station, accompanied by Sarawak Agriculture Department director Dominic Chunggat. Dr. Rundi emphasized that the Agriculture Department is closely monitoring the private initiative to ensure bio-security compliance. “Once the SOP (standard operating procedure) is adhered to, we will facilitate the implementation of hybrid variety in the paddy industry accordingly to mitigate any adverse effects on our indigenous varieties, especially our specialty/premium rice,” he told The Borneo Post.

Onemas Agriculture CEO Alfred Sia briefed Dr. Rundi and his team, explaining that Phase 1 of the project involved planting 10 hectares with hybrid Honglian rice, while Phase 2 will cover another 20 hectares. He also mentioned that the rice mill at Sungai Padi is still awaiting a power supply connection.

The visit was attended by Onemas Agriculture directors Jackie Sia and Peter Ling, among others, underscoring the collaborative effort to revolutionize rice production in Sarawak.

Source: The Borneo Post
China company keen to work on hybrid rice cultivation