Bandar Seri Begawan - Kg Bebuloh now offers something truly unique to visitors with its 'Inap Desa' (Homestay) Programme. Here, visitors can experience the daily activities of the surrounding 80 hectares of lush green field gazetted by the authority for paddy cultivation to over 80 farmers.
The Kg Bebuloh Paddy Field is the first in the Brunei-Muara District to cultivate the high-tech paddy strain - Laila rice variant, according to the farmers.
During a visit to the site yesterday, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Md Yussof told the Bulletin a little bit about how the Imp Desa Kg Bebuloh Programme came to be.
Kg Bebuloh is situated in a fertile land area, he told.
"During my last visit, I was told that the village had received foreign students. Thinking that the visit had not been properly arranged, I suggested for a certain area to be made to allow for accommodation of such visits, and thus the establishment of the homestay.
"The word 'Inap Desa' itself has a unique meaning - in terms of its location in the middle of the Kg Bebuloh Paddy Field.
"Usually, Inap Desa means a building (a house) or a place traditional to a particular area, but here it means an accommodation with facilities.
"Here, visitors can witness farming activities, especially paddy cultivation, throughout the year," the deputy minister explained.
He further pointed out that the programme at Kg Bebuloh is made possible thanks to the availability of modern agricultural technology, allowing for more paddy seasons within a year.
"For example, throughout the year, harvesting can be done once every three to four months, therefore, within a year there are four paddy seasons visitors can witness."
Visitors can see for themselves how farmers cultivate the paddy, fend-off pests, harvest and so on.
"Today there will be harvesting activities as the farmers have intentionally selected this day for us to do some harvesting. I am thankful residents in the village have expertise in paddy cultivation.- he said.
"And, with the homestay programme, there will be more visitors, especially the younger generation, and today I am happy that the village and mukim youths are coming together to help with the harvesting:
Meanwhile, Mukim Consultative Council Secretary Hj Mohd Said bin Tundak said that a programme has also been created to introduce youths to traditional musical instruments and other kinds of traditions activities. He explained that this is crucial to ensure our heritage remains intact.
The day also saw the deputy minister, his spouse and the entourage mingling with senior residents and youths of Kg Bebuloh.
The homestay programme comes under the 'One Village, One Product' (1K1P) initiative, and the Rumah Inap Desa project includes the construction of a six-metre tall tower built by the Brunei-Muara District Office at a cost of $150,000.
It is another pilot project in the Ministry of Home Affairs' efforts to upgrade rural areas identified as having the potential to generate economy for the community through eco-tourism activities.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said such activities will help strengthen relations and understanding between the ministry and the Kg Bebuloh Village Consultative Council as well as residents of surrounding areas as they work together towards strengthening the effectiveness of Village and Mukim Consultative Councils in becoming active in development progress and welfare of the community.
Accompanying the deputy minister to Kg Bebuloh Paddy Field were Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs Dato Paduka Dr Hj Affendy bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin and other senior officers at the Ministry of Home Affairs.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin