Development of a green and efficient Integrated Water Management System for Small Scheme Paddy Farm

 

Prof Madya Ir. Mohd Saleh Yahaya
Managing Director
Bionic Agro Sdn. Bhd.

Dr Hj Marzukhi Hashim
Pengarah/ Ketua Projek EPP 9
Pusat Penyelidikan Padi dan Tanaman  Industri, MARDI Serdang

ABSTRACT

In the year 2011, the Malaysian Government launched the National Agro-Food Policy (NAFP) 2011-2020, a programme to increase paddy production to ensure the county’s food security.  One of the sub-programme is EPP9, fragrant paddy production in small irrigated area using the variety developed by MARDI, MRQ 76/74.  The plant physiology of this paddy variety requires innovative water irrigation to enable efficient water management at every stage of paddy growth.

Since water in paddy production face numerous challenges and competition including from domestic and industrial water supply, climate change impacts, optimum and innovative water management system need to be developed so that the irrigation water  supply is efficient and sufficient as well as simplified and is being recycled and uses green technology but with low cost.

Critical information required for such an innovative water management system include soil permeability or hydraulic conductivity.  For design purposes of water management system, beside the crop and soil details, the rainfall intensity and patterns will also be needed. The non-granary areas are typically small irrigation schemes in small river basins, off the main rivers, with main water supply, usually from the rivers itself, such as the Sungai Pahang river systems. These areas generally have unlined, lined or  sometimes piped systems, as the irrigation systems.

The EPP9 project brings in the concept of “economy of scale”. Previously, below 1-5 acres, these areas are now grouped to be typically around 100 acres and planted as a contiguous farm with better field water management through land levelling, field drains and control structures. Where possible and for economic and environmental considerations, irrigation water will be recycled.  Areas are divided into manageable workable plots and each plots levelled to support better field water management. Field drains will be constructed base on soil types, rainfall patterns and planting stage requirements.  The proposal is to provide water as and when necessary at each growth stage, and with focus on green technology.

The use of bio agriculture product such as bio organic fertilisers and enhancers, disease control, reduced use of fossil fuels and improve used of recycled water, are in line with the concept of green economy and sustainable development.

To understand the varying systems, to date the paddy sites visited, include paddy schemes in South Korean, small scale schemes at Telok Rimba, Ledang, Batu Kikir, Bahau and Barat Laut Selangor.  The test plot will be piloted at Kampong Ewa, Pulau Langkawi, with a total area of about 105 acre.