Formerly with Rice Research Center, MARDI, Seberang Perai

HADZIM KHALID  was a gifted and prolific rice breeder, working almost his entire life with MARDI.  He first joined the Department of Agriculture as a Laboratory Assistant in 1963.  Two years later, he was posted to Bumbong Lima as a  young Breeding Assistant to Mr. J. Kawakami, one of the four Japanese renowned rice breeders who were responsible for the breeding of varieties Malinja, Mahsuri and Bahagia.  Although he received no formal education beyond first year upper secondary school (which he attended in night classes), the then contemporary rice breeding experts had put him through the mill  as an aspiring rice breeder.  In 1968, he attended an intensive “Rice Cultivation Research Course” at Central Agricultural Experimental Station, Konosu, Japan. Later, he was trained in an intensive Genetic Evaluation and Utilization (GEU) Programme under Prof. Dr. Gurdev S. Khush’s stewardship  at International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in late 1970s. In 1994 , via the Research Counterpart Exchange Programme of JIRCAS, he was  in Japan again for a brief coursework  on ‘Preliminary Studies on Some Aspects of Rice Quality” at The Biological Resources Division, JIRCAS in Japan. Empowered by his polished practical skills and deep passion for the trade, he assisted considerably in breeding and selection for pests and diseases resistance (1965 to mid 1980s) and later in breeding for high quality rice (from late 1980s onwards). His efforts and contributions were instrumental to the release of many MARDI’s rice varieties, namely Sekencang (1979), Sekembang (1979), Kadaria (1981), Manik (1984), Muda (1984), Seberang (1984), Makmur (1984), MR81 (1988), MR106 (1990), MR211 (1999), MRQ50 (1999) and MRQ74  Many of the parental varieties he bred had been used by other rice breeders, such as Manik (as parent to breed MR84), Muda (as parent to breed MR167) and MR137 (as parent to breed of MR219 and MR220). After retirement, he had served as a consultant to Bernas for three years in 2005-08. Earlier, in year 2000-01, while on  post-retirement extension of service with MARDI, he  was  also involved in the attempt by Bernas in translating and walking the idea of commercially producing “Beras Puteri” –  the first  Malaysian high value rice. In 2003-07, he again assisted MARDI via a flexi-time contract rice breeder. Here, he pulled yet another accomplishment when he succeeded in transferring of ‘Cl gene’ to breed for herbicide resistant varieties (MR220 CL-1 and MR220 CL-2) to control the problem of “weedy rice”  (Padi angin). This padi angin had progressively surfaced to become a serious recurring problem when direct-seeded rice culture began to replace the transplanted rice culture, beginning in mid 1980s. Although no longer able to be with MARDI’s rice breeding programmes, his legacy in rice breeding remains very strong and pervasive. Several varieties from his rice breeding pipeline continues to be released by MARDI.  Some of the non-released varieties that he left which include Mahsuri Mutant (1984), Q34 (1994), Q72 (1999) and Y1304 (1999) continue to be used as the main parents to breed for new quality rice varieties.


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