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1.0 INTRODUCTION

RICE IS LIFE - this slogan for the International Year of Rice describes the importance of rice as a staple food for Malaysians and also the world. Development of the rice industry is always given the priority to ensure adequate food supply at all times. However, to accommodate increasing food demand due to a growing population, agricultural inputs such as fertilizers and chemical pesticides need to be used in alignment with the effort to increase paddy yield. This has resulted in an increased rice production cost in addition to the negative impact on the environment.