| Danial Norjidi |
THE Deputy Prime Minister from the Kingdom of Thailand, General Dato Paduka Seri Tanasak Patimapragorn visited the Botanic Garden at the Bio-Innovation Corridor (BIC) in Tungku with his spouse Madame Penlaksana Patimapragorn, yesterday. They are on an official visit in the Sultanate.
Upon arrival, the Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand and his spouse were greeted at the entrance of the BIC’s Palm Gardens by the Acting Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar.
The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, Hajah Normah Suria Hayati binti PJDSM DSU (Dr) Haji Awang Mohd Jamil Al-Sufri was also present, along with Hajah Hasnah binti Haji Ibrahim, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the ministry; the Director of Agriculture and Agrifood as well as the Head of the Halal Innovation Industry Centre.
To mark the visit, the Deputy Minister planted a Variegated Mantaly tree by the creek area of the garden. The visit concluded with a presentation by the Permanent Secretary at the Halal Innovation Industry Centre’s office and highlighted the potential of the Halal market, and how the Brunei Halal certificate has become a highly regarded scheme regionally. She also spoke on the BIC’s development and plans on going forward.
The BIC comprises two combined areas, namely Zone A and Zone B, with a total estimated area of 500 hectares.
Zone A comprises three greenhouses that serve to produce high value crops such as lettuce, herbs, strawberries and orchids.
A botanic garden planted with a variety of attractive ornamental plants is also in the area. Visitors to the Model Farm can also enjoy the animal park where they can see deers, goats, ostriches and emu.
As the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources said in a statement, the Model Farm will be projecting advancements in technology, wellness and education.
“This showcase of modern agriculture innovation, as well as healthy and safe agricultural products will target promoting ‘green tours’ and export-oriented agriculture and strive to attain the status of a model technology park.”
The BIC was initiated to address the issues of developing diversified, competitive and sustainable activities to lessen the dependency on oil and gas as a source of income.
The objectives of the BIC include setting up a venue for development in science and technological advancement addressing five major components into workable, sustainable and marketable projects, namely: R&D and commercialisation; business incubation and innovation; education and training; production and distribution; and tourism.
“A wide range of benefits will be derived from activities planned for the park, including job creation, economic diversification, inward investment and tourism, new linkages in the field of research and education and stimulating new activities in the agribusiness sectors in both primary and further processed sectors,” reads the statement.
“With the development of a model farm at BIC, it is envisaged that the park will not only generate income for the nation by attracting potential investors but also encourage locals to take advantage of the facilities offered in the agribusiness fields, especially food incubation centres, research and development, logistics and tourism,” it adds.