Fly-infested farms come under microscope

Danial Norjidi

The Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH) conducted a working visit of livestock farms, crop farms as well as some of the residential areas affected with fly infestations around Kampong Bengkurong-Masin and the Batumpu Agriculture Development Area (KKP), Kampong Masin in the Brunei-Muara District on August 14.

The visit was conducted by officials from the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood, MPRT; Department of Environmental Health Services, MoH; and the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (JASTRe), Ministry of Development. According to a press release, the purpose of the visit was to examine the level of cleanliness of the farms in the area and to identify the sources of flies and to take a closer look at the areas affected by the fly infestation around the villages.

The results of the visit found that the level of cleanliness of some of the farms in the areas was unsatisfactory, did not meet the criteria of farm cleanliness and there were sources that contributed to uncontrolled breeding of flies.

Following this, reprimands and instructions for improvements have been given to the relevant operators to undertake efforts to clean their respective fields.

The Department of Agriculture and Agrifood will also issue a letter of warning to the farm operators to carry out cleaning work around their farm within the stipulated time. Legal action in accordance with existing regulations under the jurisdiction of the relevant agencies will also be taken if the operators fail to carry out their farm cleaning efforts.

These include: to impose compound fines under the Minor Offences Act (Chapter 30) for irregular waste disposal; and to impose compound fines or penalties for offences as stated under Paragraphs 7, 8, 14, 16, 17, 19, 20, 37 and 38 of the Environmental Protection and Management Order 2016.

It was also shared that the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood will continue to carry out steps for improvement that have been agreed upon during a joint session with the Penghulu and village heads in Mukim Pengkalan Batu that was held on Saturday, August 10, 2019.

One such step is to implement immediate prohibition on the use of poultry waste as fertiliser in the vegetable, fruit and flower plantations at Pengkalan Batu and surrounding areas.

Another is to direct the poultry operators to dispose of chicken droppings at a waste disposal area in Sungai Paku, Belait District. It was shared that this is on the advice of JASTRe.

An additional step is to implement immediate restrictions on sellers and suppliers of chicken manure to halt sale and supply of chicken manure to farmers in Pengkalan Batu and surrounding areas.

One more step is to collaborate with mukim and village residents to destroy larvae (flies) in areas identified as breeding grounds.

The press release added that livestock and crop farm operators in the country especially in the affected areas are advised to take immediate action in terms of comprehensive farm management to reduce the breeding grounds of pests and insects such as flies, for the benefit of operators and residents in the areas.