Bandar Seri Begawan - The Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam through the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood under the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) lends its continuous support to the field of agriculture by promoting and providing various facilities and infrastructures to local farmers keen on venturing into paddy production on a large scale.
In line with this, the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood has inked the Land Tenancy Agreement for the Paddy Plantation Project with four institutions venturing into this field. The signing of the agreement was at the MIPR at Jalan Menteri Besar yesterday.
Acting on behalf of the government, the agreement was signed by Department of Agriculture and Agrifood Acting Director Hajah Aidah binti Haji Mohd Hanifah, while Pengiran Hajah Mariam binti Pengiran Haji Omar, the acting assistant director of the department, served as witness to the agreement-signing.
First to sign the agreement was Koperasi Setia Kawan (KOSEKA), represented by its chairman, Lieutenant Colonel (Rtd) Haji Mohd Shahlan bin Hidup, and witnessed by KOSEKA Advisor Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Dewa Major General (Rtd) Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Mohammad bin Haji Daud.
Next up was the Mukim Pengkalan Batu Consultative Council, which was represented by Haji Tahir bin Haji Tarip, the chairman, while Haji Yaakup bin Haji Othman, head of the rice-farming field for MPM Mukim Pengkalan Batu acted as witnessed.
The third agreement was inked by Haji Sa'id bin Tundak, Chairman of Kampong Bebuloh Consultative Council, and witnessed by Mohd Daud bin Hidup, head of paddy-field for Kampong Bebuloh.
The last agreement was signed between the department and Kampong Wasan Consultative Council, which was represented by its chairman, Mat Noor bin Ma'arof, while Abdul Hamid bin Haji Abd Rahman played witness.
Speaking to the Bulletin, Haji Sa'id bin Tundak said the agreement shows the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood's commitment in helping local farmers not only to increase their rice production, but at the same time, encourages even more farmers to venture into the field.
Moreover, since Kg Bebuloh has been identified as one of the potential paddy fields that would contribute to the nation's needs, a total of 83 hectares of land have been cultivated by farmers, he said.
"Alhamdulillah, we are able to increase our rice production yearly. So far, we have managed to produce twice a year with a total of 50 metric tonnes in terms of production.
"I hope with the agreement signed, it would ease the respective Mukim and Village Consultative Council in centralising their management and monitoring the progress of their respective paddy fields," he added.
Meanwhile, Pengiran Hajah Mariam shared that the agreement is solely to provide space and opportunity for farmers to develop their own land with the help of our department.
"At the same time, we also encourage leaders of respective paddy fields to acquire knowledge, techniques and skills in producing more quality production by attending courses and trainings provided at the Rice Farmer School.
"The objective is to provide the leaders with proper management skills in terms of applying best practice in rice farming and, at the same time, to monitor food security and safety so that the farmers will not overuse, for instance, pesticides and fertilizers.
"By educating them with this knowledge, it is hoped they will be able to use the skills as their best practices. The course is not only on in-house training... the leaders will also be exposed to practical training in the field. At the end of the day, these leaders will then channel the information, skills and knowledge they have obtained to their downlines," she explained.
"With the agreement, the department will be able to centralise and monitor which land has been actively developed and which ones have not. Therefore, it will then enables us to conduct analyses and discussions with the leaders with regard to why a certain piece of land has not been developed according to what has been outlined by our department," she added.
In 2011, a total of 664.74 metric tonnes were successfully produced by these four institution, which have indirectly contributed to the country's domestic productions.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin