Ni Komang Erviani , Contributor , The Jakarta Post, Denpasar | Thu, 09/11/2008 10:56 AM |
controversial Supertoy rice variety development project, which failed in Central Java to produce an impressive yield as promised, will continue in Bali, a provincial officer said. Bali Agricultural and Food Crops Agency head I Wayan Badra Wisnaya said Tuesday a pilot project using Supertoy rice variety seeds is currently being developed on 37.15 hectares of paddy fields in Bali. The development project is being conducted in four regencies, with 20 hectares in Gianyar, 10 hectares in Karangasem, 5.5 hectares in Tabanan and 1.65 hectares in Badung, Badra Wisnaya said. The fields are being developed and tended by dozens of farmers, he added. He explained the project is still being monitored by the Seed Certification and Supervision Agency in East Java. “We’ve also ordered respective regency administrations to take part in supervising the development of the project so as to detect whether the new variety is prone to any pest attacks,” he said. I Gede Putu Yasa, one of the farmers participating in the Supertoy rice project in Dharmasaba village in Badung, said he was not worried by news of the failure of Supertoy projects elsewhere. The 56-year-old farmer, who started planting the Supertoy rice last month, was even optimistic about getting large profits as his rice was growing well. His paddy plants have reached a height of 80 centimeters. Yasa said he expected to have good harvests in the next few months. “At least we can get 7.5 tons of unhusked rice per hectare,” he said. Supertoy seed provider PT Sarana Harapan Indopangan (SHI) was also confident the Supertoy crop in Bali would be successful. “Our optimism is based on the fact that Bali soil is very fertile,” Made Ujiana, SHI’s Bali representative, said. Ujiana said failure of the Supertoy rice planting had been registered on 5.85 hectares in Karangasem. But the failure was caused mainly by unfavorable weather conditions at the time of planting, he said. “Three days after planting, there were high tides caused by strong winds so the rice plants were inundated by seawater,” he said. Ujiana said the failure had nothing to do with the quality of the seeds as conventional seeds in surrounding areas had also failed. One such failure was in the planting of the C4 rice variety on 4.5 hectares in the same area, he said. “The Supertoy rice grows well here and it is expected to be ready for harvest within the next 70 days,” he said. Ujiana said the failure of the Supertoy rice project in Purworejo, Central Java, was due not to the quality of the seeds, but to the way they were handled. “The failure was caused mainly by poor tending by local farmers,” he said. “No matter how good the seeds are, if they are not well managed or are not given adequate fertilizer, the crop will surely fail,” he said. Rice crops using the new variety in Bali have the potential to yield 15 tons per hectare, he said, adding that even with ordinary handling, the target of 7 tons per hectare would be easily reached. “At a price of Rp 2,500 (27 US cents) per kilogram of dry unhusked rice, each farmer is expected to get Rp 17.5 million per hectare. By comparison, their cost is only Rp 5.5 million per hectare,” Ujiana said.