The Irrigation Pipelines Project and the Construction of Main Infrastructures Project to help Brunei on the path to rice sufficiency
Bandar Seri Begawan - A signing ceremony took place yesterday between contractors and the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood for two projects -the Pengkalan Batu and Junjungan Irrigation Pipeline; and the construction of Main Infrastructures of Paddy Seed Production.
Held at Rimba Horticulture's Business Centre, the ceremony was witnessed by the Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, Awg Mohd Reza bin Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos.
The Main Infrastructures Project was awarded to LNS Trading Construction Sdn Bhd, while the Irrigation Pipelines project was awarded to Astal Engineering Sdn Bhd.
The Irrigation Pipelines Project was signed off by the Acting Director of Agriculture and Agrifood, Dyg Hjh Khartini Hj Musa; and Astal Engineering was represented by its Executive Chairman, Khairul Azman Hj Tamin.
Signing on as witnesses were the Assistant Director of Agriculture and Agrifood, Awg Saidin Namit, and Astal Engineering Managing Director, V Arul.
The implementation of this project is in line with the Action Plan under the Self-Sufficiency Programme for National Rice Production project. The project is also part of the WasanBebuloh Paddy Mechanism Scheme irrigation pipelines and is expected to be completed in 20 months time.
The installation of this pipe will facilitate water supply to paddy plantation areas such as Kuala Lurah, Bebuloh, Panchor Murai, Batong-Masin and Junjungan-Limau Manis.
It also serves as a platform for advance planning and steps to resolve and upgrade infrastructure standards in order to upgrade local paddy production capacity, which is expected to increase by up to 60 per cent in 2015.
Signing for the Construction of Main Infrastructures project was also carried out by by Hjh Khartini and Awg Saidin, while LNS Trading was represented by its Managing Director, Lim Peng Khaw; and Director, Sue Meow Hing.
In a brief interview with an ergonomist for the National Rice Production Project, Khairunnisa Hj Omar Ali, she noted that the department is embarking on a self-sufficiency drive to ensure farmers can harvest a high-yield field based on the utilisation of good and certified seeds.
In other places farmers will usually produce their own seeds, but here in Brunei, the department has decided to identify a location with the proper irrigation drainage infrastructure for the seeds in use because if farmers produced their own seeds, there is a mixture and variety then found in the fields.
In preventing this, fields have been identified to be used for specific seeds. "Now that we have Laila, we have to ensure that we are able to provide farmers with certified seeds."
At the moment the department is producing its own seeds but is usually not sufficient due to the increasing number of farmers planting Laila. So now that the department has the proper seed production area, it will ensure that there is a continuous supply of seeds certified as disease free and possessing high germination rates.
This not only ensures a high yield for farmers, but will also reduce their production cost, because they will be using less seeds, and seedlings are healthy, which translates into a healthy plant.
Meanwhile, Irrigation and Drainage Officer, Awg Jemin Sura disclosed that the Irrigation Pipelines project is the continuation of Phase Two for areas under the Rice Scheme in the Brunei-Muara District.
Aside from irrigation system, heavy rain is also seen as an issue that farmers face, but according to him, heavy rains tend to only effect low-lying areas of land, however, if heavy rainfall is experienced over a three-day period, flooding then becomes a potential problem for the plantation.
This project will involve the construction of infrastructure such as field lots, internal water drainage, and roads access, where through this project; the area will become the main certified Paddy Seed Production Centre with the basic infrastructure required for paddy seed production, which is certified by the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood.
Supplying quality seeds to entrepreneurs is vital in securing a high-yield harvest as it can increase production between five and 20 per cent.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin