Serious infestation of weedy rice or locally known as "padi angin" had been reported to reduce rice yield up to 75%. UPM researchers have developed a novel seed treatment to counter the infestation
ZAPPA- The Rice Seeds Germination Enhancer
The Malaysian government's aspiration to increase rice yield up to 10 t/ha may be hampered if infestation of "padi angin" or weedy rice cannot be controlled. Serious infestation of weedy rice had been reported to reduce rice yield up to 75%.
ZAPPA or "Zapa Padi Angin" is specially formulated as paddy seed treatment to enhance rapid seed germination for direct seeding rice grown under aerobic and anaerobic systems. ZAPPA treated paddy seeds increased the root and shoot growth of 3-days old rice seedlings to about 130% and 62%, respectively.
Paddy seeds treated with active oxygen in ZAPPA were able to grow vigorously under anaerobic direct seeding (about 5 cm water depth), thereby, delayed or suffocated the untreated weedy rice seeds present in the soil. The local verification trials of ZAPPA conducted on two farmers plot each 1.2 hectares in Sg. Besar, Selangor, which were previously infected with weedy rice had shown a yield increment between 40 and 57%. MARDI researchers in Tg. Karang and Bertam had also evaluated effectiveness of ZAPPA for seed germination and the control of the padi angin.
The result showed that seeds treated with ZAPPA were able to grow at 5 and 15 cm of water depth. Others benefits of using ZAPPA includes that it reduce weeds problem, reduces rat attack due to standing water, conserves water usage (water is not removed after ploughing), reduces seed borne diseases, and increases seed purity.
ZAPPA received a Silver Medal in the 32nd International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products at Geneva, 2004.