Expanding rice production under climate change in Malaysia

The Malaysian rice variety provides higher yields with less fertilizer compared to the other two varieties grown in Southeast Asia. This could be the key to increasing food security in an era of climate change, according to a recent analysis published in the Pertanica Journal of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (JTAS).

Rice is the most common grain in Malaysia in terms of both production and consumption. However, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Malaysia’s rice production is only a fraction of Asia’s total harvest (about 0.4% in 2011). According to the Malaysian Institute of Agricultural Research and Development, this is partly due to the limited land available for growing crops and the country not producing its maximum yield potential.

As the effects of climate change and global population growth continue to unfold, demand for rice is increasing in an increasingly challenging environment. Increasing nitrogen fertilizer application could increase rice yields to some extent, but as the researchers point out, this is not economical. Furthermore, nitrogen does not improve plant tolerance to uncertain climatic conditions.

Increased levels of nitrogen, an important nutrient for plants, are usually thought to lead to increased photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert light into energy for growth.

In a JTAS research paper, Tiara Harman of the University of Nottingham’s Malaysia Campus and colleagues found that a Malaysian rice variety called MR253 showed higher levels of nitrogen when fed less nitrogen compared to two other Southeast Asian rice varieties. They discovered that it indicates the level of photosynthesis. This indicates that MR253 has a more efficient nitrogen uptake and distribution mechanism than other varieties.

The researchers claim that optimizing the photosynthetic machinery of Malaysian rice could increase yields without increasing fertilizer use. They added that the MR253 variety may be less sensitive to intense light, given that it requires less nitrogen for photosynthesis than other varieties.

Herman’s team has the potential to provide a sustainable solution to boost Malaysia’s food supply under unpredictable conditions by reducing the amount of fertilizer and making crops more efficient at photosynthesizing. It is concluded that there is.

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