The Council of Agriculture yesterday unveiled a new species of rice cultivated by the Miaoli District Agricultural Research and Extension Station that the council said was especially suitable for consumption by the elderly because of its soft texture.
Station director How Fong-wu (侯鳳舞) said that after a decade of research and experimentation in cultivation, the three special features of the new rice grain, known as Miaoli No. 2, were its soft texture, high grain output and suitability for longer storage times. In addition to the texture being more suitable for the elderly, the taste and texture of the rice is not compromised when it is cold, making it suitable for use in desserts, rice balls and sushi, How said.
Chang Su-jein (張素貞), one of the station’s researchers who was in charge of the Miaoli No. 2 cultivation program, said that a survey conducted by the council’s Agriculture and Food Agency showed that Taiken No. 9 rice was Taiwanese consumers’ preferred rice and that Miaoli No. 2 also had its strengths, including a bouncy texture when chewed, but it was slightly softer.
“The Miaoli No. 2 has other advantages compared with the popular Taiken No. 9, including increasing grain output by 3.2 percent and 18.8 percent, in the first and second crop seasons respectively,” Chang said, adding that at present, the output of the new rice strain is above 6,000kg per hectare at the center’s 3 hectare experimental farm in Miaoli County.
In addition, the new plants are shorter in size, allowing it to withstand the strong northeast monsoon, which blows in northern Taiwan, she said, adding that the price is estimated to be about the same as Taiken No. 9, but it is likely to generate higher total profits for farmers due to the higher grain output.
Displaying rice balls, bread and other food products made from the new rice variety, How said that several food products can be made with the new rice and said he hopes the market can accept the flavor of the new grain, which is scheduled to enter the market as soon as next year.