Padi Yield Malaysia
Thus far, Malaysia must increase its rice production to meet the government’s target for full self-sufficiency in rice by 2015 and it is now 2016. So will our R&D efforts with DOA/UTP/MARDI be sufficient to achieve these targets.
The government’s decision to achieve 100% self-sufficiency in rice is probably due to the height of the world food crisis in June 2008, where Malaysia suddenly found itself unable to guarantee sufficient rice for the nation in the following 3 months in mid 2008. Rice-exporting countries like Thailand, Viet Nam, and India either banned or limited their rice exports during the food crisis, so Malaysia unexpectedly found no one from whom to buy rice. In other words, the food crisis exposed Malaysia’s persistent and increasing food insecurity problem.
In 2011, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry of Malaysia, Datuk Wira Mohd Johari Baharum, remarked that Malaysia could achieve 100% self-sufficiency in rice if Malaysia’s 2 major rice areas (MADA and KADA) increase their rice yields by between 5 to 10% per year. Malaysia is currently only 72% self-sufficient in rice and had until last year 2015 to achieve 100% self-sufficiency which it did not.
In 2008, the world’s total production of rice stood at 685.0m tonnes, increasing at a rate of 9.5m tonnes per year.
Countries in the league of top 10 largest producers of rice are as follows : 1. China (194.3m tonnes), 2. India (148.3), 3. Indonesia (60.3), 4. Bangladesh (46.9), 5. Viet Nam (38.7), 6. Myanmar (30.5), 7. Thailand (30.5), 8. Philippines (16.8), 9. Brazil (12.1), and 10. Japan (11.0). Lying in the 25th place is Malaysia with a total rice production of 2.4m tonnes. Both China and India are, by far, the 2 largest producers of rice, producing half of the world’s rice.
What about rice productivity?
Most people would probably not know that Australia is the world’s most efficient producer of rice, producing an average of 8.7 tonnes of rice per hectare per year from 2000-08, followed by Japan (6.4) and China (6.3). Malaysia’s mean rice productivity, though increasing each year, is only 3.3 ton/ha per year. Malaysia’s productivity is lower than that for Viet Nam (4.7), Indonesia (4.6) and Philippines (3.5), but higher than that for India (3.1) and Thailand (2.8). Even though, Australia is the most efficient rice producer in the world, its productivity fluctuates widely year-on-year. This is probably due to the frequent water shortages (i.e., droughts) in Australia. Japan also sees a large annual variation in its rice productivity but this variation is much less than that for Australia. China’s rice productivity, however, is a rapid and steady increase throughout the years, from a low 2.1 ton/ha in 1961 to 6.6 ton/ha in 2008.
Malaysia’s land area for rice remained fairly constant at no more than 0.7m hectares since the1980s. Even though the land area for rice has remained rather constant, Malaysia’s rice productivity increases every year from 2.1 ton/ha in 1961 to 3.6 ton/ha in 2008. Thus, Malaysia’s total rice production would also increase each year. Since 1985, Malaysia sees an average increase in total rice production of about 28,000 tonnes per year.
Now, the bad news.
Although Malaysia’s rice production and productivity increased each year, Malaysia’s rice yield per capita (per person) declines each year. From a high of 174.6 kg of rice per capita in 1974, rice yield per capita has since fallen steadily, falling to 86.0 kg of rice per capita in 2008.
If Malaysia was to be 100% self-sufficient in rice by 2015, the rice yield per capita must increase to at least 106 kg of rice per capita. This value takes into account past trends in rice production, rice productivity and self-sufficiency levels, as well as Malaysia’s expected population, eating habits, and prosperity level by 2015.
So, assuming no change in land area for rice (which essentially has not changed since the 1980s), Malaysia must achieve the following rice yields to reach 106 kg of rice per capita in 2015; thus, becoming 100% self-sufficient in rice.
> Total rice production in 2015 needs to be : 3.3m ton/ha (40% increase from 2.4m ton/ha in 2008);
> Rice productivity by 2015 : 5.0 ton/ha (40% increase from 3.6 ton/ha in 2008); and
> To achieve the above 2 targets in 2015, productivity must increase by at least 4.9%/year.
Currently, Malaysia’s rice productivity increases only by an average of 2.0%/year, not the required 4.9% per year. At this current level, Malaysia will only hit 2.6m tonnes of rice in 2015, a rice productivity of 3.8 ton/ha, and a rice yield per capita of 82.3 kg per capita. All this translates to an expected self-sufficiency level of only 78% in 2015.
Conclusion : Objectives and targets for 2015 ... is not, was not and will not be achievable.
However, even at 2.0% increase in rice productivity per year, it is still possible to achieve 100% self-sufficiency in rice, provided that the land area for rice in 2008 increases by more than 70% to reach 1.14 mil. ha in 2015.
In other words, more than 436,000 ha of new land area must be found for rice fields. In 2008, the Malaysian government mentioned about plans to open 100,000 ha of new land area for rice fields, but this figure is only one-fifth of what is required. Again, objective cannot be achieved.
Not sure why the government put 2015 as the year to achieve 100% self-sufficiency. It is way too early, considering current trends. Moreover, rice production is heavily subsidized by the government and with the government now trying to reduce their subsidies, it is difficult to see more rice fields opening up.
So, unless there is a major concentration of investment, research and effort in next 5 years by the government, it is very unlikely that Malaysia would be 100% self-sufficient in rice by 2015 or thereabouts.
About our Contributions
3 experiments has been conduct over the last couple of years with regards to our products on padi yield improvements :-
> 10 years ago - Indonesia Test achieved from 8.0 to 13.0 tonnes/ha;
> 2 years ago - Thailand Test achieved from 4.7 to 7.4 tonnes/ha;
> 1 year ago - Malaysia Test I (UTP) achieved from 4.0 to an "extrapolated" 20.0 tonnes/ha; and
> Q1/2016 - MalaysiaTest II (DOA/UTP/Mardi - Padi Test Center, Perak) will verify the results of Malaysian Test I.
The Indonesian result is considered quite old with no proper reports was conducted (only the final yield was recorded). The Thailand result was more controlled and we believe that this result is reliable. The Malaysian Test I results had wide uncontrolled anomalies and is generally not considered reliable as proper protocols were not adhered to. However the 6 plots under investigation showed that one plot that was not affected by anomalies resulted in 20 tonnes/ha. It is because of this result that we are currently investigating again our protocols and its application in a more controlled environment under the watchful eye of the rice research center and facility in Parit Buntar, Perak. A lab and field tests are currently being conducted. Lab to test against 4 pathogens and field against 3 insect-pests for yield. We are testing on the most recent variety of rice which had taken more than 10 years to be derived by MARDI.
A positive experiment is a significant move towards rice productivity in the country, which has spend over the last 20 years about RM500m/year and achieve 2% increase in yield and not the 5% required and if the 3 experiments are to be taken seriously.
Our last experiment Malaysia Test II, god willing, should yield better than the 5% and dare we dream that Malaysia will be a net rice exporter to the world.