Indonesian Farmers Union (Sertani) was successful in discovering varieties of paddy seeds claimed capable to rival hybrid rice in terms of productivity and resistant pest attack planthopper. This variety was discovered by Surono Danu, seed breeders who did research in Lampung.
Sertani-1 variety had a higher yield than other rice varieties and required a shorter growing period. The variety also requires less fertilizer and water and is more resistant to plant diseases. Sertani-1 is suitable for dry fields, while Emespe is suitable for land with lots of water. This means that Sertani-1 is good for land that lacks water. So farmers do not need to worry about growing paddy in the dry season.
One hectare of Sertani-1 rice can produce up to 14 tons of unhulled paddy. the Sertani-1 paddy stalk produced around 400-450 grains, while other varieties produced about 200 grains. The seeds do not need special treatment or much water because they can absorb more oxygen. The seeds grow well in many different areas, such as in land that is dry, nonirrigated or even saline and could be planted just one centimeter above the surface of the land.
Sertani-1 seeds have their own antibodies so they are more resistant to diseases. Sertani-1 rice also requires less fertilizer and it is more resistant to plant diseases and crop pests such as rats: A paddy stem bitten by a rat can recover within 24 hours and still grow well.
After an initial trial in Lampung, Sertani-1 is now widely used across Indonesia: Many farmers have planted the seeds and enjoyed the harvest. Sertani-1 and MSP varieties were planted for pilot projects in West Java, Central Java, East Java and North Sumatra. In the next few years, members of the Lampung chapter of Sertani hope to develop the seeds all over Indonesia.
Surono, together with farmers in Lampung in the Indonesian Farmers Union (Sertani), are now developing another genetically altered rice variety called Emespe or MSP, which stands for Mari Sejahterakan Petani (let's make farmers prosperous).