Producing Langkawi Special Organic Rice: Experiences and Prospects

 

ABSTRACT

Langkawi has 1729 ha of single crop rainfed rice. Though rice is cultivated inorganically in the island, high usage of chemical fertilizers and pesticides is not practiced. The environment in the island is comparatively less polluted than other rice areas. As such cultivation of organic rice was initiated in Kampung Ewa, Telok Ewa, single crop rice area in 2005. Unpolluted water from the neighbouring hill and clean air surrounds the rice fields in Telok Ewa. Using the interim technology on organic rice by MARDI, the Langkawi Farmers Association cultivated organically speciality rice, variety Maswangi, during main season 2005, on a 3.0 ha rice field in Kampong Ewa, Telok Ewa, with an average yield of 2.5 T/ha. During main season 2006 the area cultivated organically with this variety increased to 8.0 ha, with an average yield of 3.1 T/ha. During main season 2007, 25.0 ha was cultivated organically with an average yield of 2.8 T/ha. It is proposed that the rice area grown organically be progressively increased in Langkawi, until it exceeds 400 ha in 2010. This speciality rice, Maswangi, does not require high inputs during cultivation and is resistant to major pest and diseases. It has aroma and the milled rice can be sold at a high price, (RM 5/kg or more).

 

Transplanting is the preferred cultural practice of this single crop rice grown organically. Standing water throughout the rice season helps to minimize weed infestation. Cattle grazing and green legume cultivation during the off season and compost (4 T/ha) or other organic fertilizer application, during the main season, maintained and improved the soil fertility. For pest and disease management, organic insect repellant, such as neem, BTO solution and Nature farming solution, were used. It was found that there was abundance of natural enemies in the organic rice fields. In post harvest straw management, no burning of rice straw was practiced. The proposed price of paddy grown organically is RM 1900/Ton (excluding price subsidy). This organic rice is sold as white and brown rice, with the brand name, Beras Langkawi Special (Langkawi Special Rice), in one kilogram vacuum pack. It can be sold as high value food. The G.I. index of Maswangi is 44 (low). When one eats rice with low G.I. index, the carbohydrate breaks down slowly and the glucose is slowly released into the blood stream. Low G.I. index helps to control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Maswangi rice is also high in Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which helps to relieve the person from stress and anxiety. Since this organic rice is available in one kilogram vacuum pack, it is also suitable to be given as a gift. It can be a product in Agro-tourism of Langkawi.

 

Abdul Rahman Abu Bakar, Othman Omar, Saad Abdullah, Alias Ismail – Principal Research Officer, Rice and Industrial Crop Research Centre, Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute.

Azizan Mohd Isa – General Manager, Langkawi Farmers Association (PPK).

Zulkifli Ismail – Rice Project Manager, Langkawi Farmers Association (PPK).

Aini Zakaria, Zulkefli Malik – Senior Research Officer, Strategic Resources Research Centre, Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute.

Nik Mohd Noor Nik Salleh – Retired Senior Research Officer, Rice and Industrial Crop Research Centre, Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute.

Asfaliza Ramli – Research Officer, Rice and Industrial Crop Research Centre, Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute.

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