New batch of Sembada 188 arrives to boost rice production

Lyna Mohamad

Another batch of Sembada 188 rice seeds has been provided for Brunei’s agricultural fields, as part of a contract to supply up to 10.8 tonnes of Sembada 188 seeds for the 2020/2021 planting season.

The planting of Sembada 188 seedlings on October 28, 2019, by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, marked the official start of the commercial rice farm in the Agricultural Development Area (KKP) of Kandol in the Belait District.

Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Brunei Darussalam Dr Sujatmiko expressed appreciation for the Brunei Government’s continued support, which he said has enabled PT Biogene Plantation of Indonesia to play a role in the collaborative efforts for rice production in Brunei.

He said, “The Sembada 188 is finding a second home in Brunei. Its wider application should lend additional thrust to domestic rice output, as it can yield six tonnes per hectare, which is twice as much of the harvest from the Laila variety.”

On the future of the bilateral cooperation, Dr Sujatmiko said, “The Sembada 188 has come so far, as a success story of shared passion for strengthening Indonesia-Brunei bilateral links with concrete projects.

Sembada 188 seeds being fumigated. PHOTO: INDONESIAN EMBASSY IN BRUNEI DARUSSALAM

“It shall not stop there. We are hopeful that the cooperation will continue to grow leading to new opportunities for further collaboration in agri-business.”

During the 2018/2019 season, around two tonnes of Sembada 188 seeds were sown, leading to satisfactory results and an additional order of up to 15 tonnes of seeds for Brunei’s commercial rice fields, in the2019/2020 season.

A high-yield paddy variant developed in a collaborative effort by PT Biogene Plantation of Indonesia, the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood of the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism and the Paddyco, Sembada 188 has gone through a series of trials in Brunei since 2015.

Also tested in Brunei soils with their respective advantages, in addition to Sembada 188 variant, were the Sembada B9, Sembada 168, Sembada 626 and Sembada 989. The Sembada 188 was chosen by Brunei because of its very high score based on planting criteria, productivity level, compatibility with local soil, and the taste and texture of rice.

The new batch of Sembada 188 seeds will partly be used for the next phases in the pilot planting project at KKP Kandol, which is slated to cover 500 hectares of land and will be the largest paddy estate in Brunei, whenfully operational.

Paddyco will be overseeing the project, as part of the cooperation agreement, while PT Biogene Plantation provides technical support, including knowledge transfer to local farmers regarding Sembada 188 cultivation methods.