Location : Kampung Long Langai, Ba’kelalan, Limbang Division, Sarawak, Malaysia.
Bakelalan practices a very traditional way of planting wet paddy but things will change very soon. A new system of planting was recently introduced in July 2019 called ‘System of Rice Intensification’ or ‘SRI’.
We were fortunate indeed to be there when the introduction course was conducted for the farmers. So we learned the new system together with all the farmers who were invited to attend this course which was held hands on in the open field. The new system promised them double the yield.
Our host Mr Matius was picked to be the pioneer of this trial here in Bakelalan. Mr and Mrs Matius had been very busy the last couple of days preparing a plot of their land for the launching.
After that was done, the ladies were distributed the seedlings for the sowing.
The first important point was to bury the seedlings’ roots as shallow as possible. The second was to conduct several 10 day cycles of water drainage/flooding to a minimum height of the fields in order for the new sprouts to easily absorb nitrogen and carbon dioxide from the air without the hindrance of water.
These 2 techniques were to enhance the seedlings to grow more branches. More sprouts meant better yield according to the trainer. Organic fertilizer would also be used to boost growth.
The final point was to dig a small drain surrounding the field to bait pests like snails with chopped vegetables, These snails collected can be cooked as food.
To summarized what we learned that day:-
- Spacing of seedlings 1ft or 25cm (traditional ones are too close)
- Seedlings’ sowing depth must be minimal
- 10 days after sowing, the seedlings were sprayed with organic fertilizer
- De-weeding phase started 20 days later
- Next will be control water draining/flooding to a minimum height.
- De-weeding, draining and flooding cycles must be carried out several times
- Flooding height must be minimal
- To surround field with a shallow drain to trap snails with chopped vegetables
We are opened to corrections! Thank you.
The trainer further mentioned that this SRI technique had been successfully tried in Kedah. We should know very soon if indeed the yield has doubled. Hopefully, Bakelalan will be the icebreaker for the organic rice industry in Sarawak. All the best.
After the class was over, we proceeded to one of the houses for a lunch gathering. This gave us the chance to meet both the training team and the farmers who were mostly ladies. A special kind of Lun Bawang porridge was served. Yummy. Next…..Bye Bye Bakelalan Hello Bario, finally after 4 days
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