ECER plants corn hybrid for 85% jump in returns

by Tamimi Omar
KUALA TERENGGANU: A new breed of high-yielding corn, which is tagged the Gold Strike
sweet corn that brings 85% more return on investment (ROI), is being introduced by the
Hulu Terengganu Department of Agriculture as part of an agriculture initiative under the
East Coast Economic Region (ECER).
Earmarked to be farmed at a 200-hectare site in Kuala Berang, corn farming formed a
dominant part of the self-sustaining Bachok-Besut-Setiu-Kuala Berang Agro Valley for
vegetables and short-term corps, ECER Secretariat said in a statement yesterday.
It said the estimated cost of planting the hybrid sweet corn was at RM4,832 per hectare
with expected income of RM12,600 per hectare per season, while the estimated cost of
planting Thai super sweet (TSS) corn was RM3,352 with estimated income of RM5,500
per hectare per season.
ECER said the initial plantation phase, starting December 2007, would cover 58 hectares
of land involving 144 farmers.
The Gold Strike sweet corn was selected by the Agriculture Department based on a study
which showed the new hybrid to be most resistant to plant diseases. The study also
showed the hybrid produces higher ears of corn.
Corn plantation efforts are expected to reduce the import of agriculture goods. In 2006,
Malaysia imported 200 tonnes of corns worth US$200,000 (RM683,000) from China,
followed by New Zealand with 140 tonnes worth US$170,000.
Malaysia also imports 100 tonnes from Thailand worth US$50,000 and 70 tonnes from
the US worth US$80,000.
— The Edge Daily