His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office emphasised on the need to raise the production and productivity of the region’s agriculture and food sectors, and that technological advancements and innovations in food and agriculture will help achieve this goal, yesterday.
In this regard, the G20 meeting in Japan has emphasised the importance of encouraging and embracing innovation in agriculture through utilisation and access to advanced technologies such as Information and Communication Technology, Artificial Intelligence, and Robotics Farming.
His Royal Highness said this in a sabda when officiating the Opening Ceremony of the 41st Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF Meeting) at the Indera Samudra Grand Hall of The Empire Hotel & Country Club in Jerudong.
His Royal Highness highlighted that much of the future of ASEAN’s food security will be shaped by the decisions we make now. “It is our future generation who will continue to face the question of food security.
“It is crucial we include our youth in these discussions and provide the right support and encouragement to enhance their role in the food security agenda. It is our moral obligation to create the right environment to provide access to technologies and nurture the right skills to ensure the success of our youths to become leading pioneers and innovators in the area of food and agriculture. In this regard, capacity building must also remain on top of our priority list as policymakers.”
His Royal Highness also spoke on Brunei Darussalam’s initiative on ‘Agriculture Pilot Project Scheme’, of which the objective covers accelerating growth of agricultural output through technology and innovations; promoting use of high-yielding varieties; producing high value commodities; targetting export market; establishing contract farming; and encouraging youth participation in agriculture, in line with the aspiration of promoting growth of food and agriculture sectors as well as nurturing youth as the next generation of farmers.
His Royal Highness noted that ASEAN along with its dialogue partners, international organisations as well as other third parties have worked together towards fulfilling the common objectives of sustainable forest management and urged that we have to be resilient in addressing the call to promote the sustainable use and management of our forest resources.
His Royal Highness also highlighted on the progress of regional cooperation in food, agriculture and forestry which has evolved beyond the 10 ASEAN member states, signifying ASEAN’s strong commitment and determination to regional cooperation in these areas.
His Royal Highness hoped the relationship with ASEAN’s Plus Three Partners, Dialogue Partners as well as Development Partners continues to flourish in the future.
His Royal Highness commended the development of ASEAN’s food security cooperation since the implementation of the ASEAN Integrated Food Security Framework, and the Strategic Plan of Action on ASEAN Food Security 2015-2020; and the implementation of the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve Agreement with the Plus Three Partners.
Meanwhile, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong highlighted ASEAN’s regional co-operation in agriculture dating back to more than 50 years ago, and has since broadened into a much wider and deeper area – covering food security, food safety, food handling, crops, livestock, fisheries, agricultural cooperatives, agricultural training and extension, research and development, forestry, and trade in agriculture and forest products.
The minister added that AMAF is tasked to formulate and implement cooperation activities in food, agriculture and forestry for the benefit of ASEAN member states.
“As a result, we see progress through various sectoral bodies, working on a clear set of strategic goals. Through these sectoral bodies, ASEAN through AMAF strives towards achieving long-term food security in the region and expanding intra-ASEAN trade in food and agricultural products; enhancing cooperation and information sharing among ASEAN member states on food safety such as sanitary and phytosanitary measures of various countries; enhancing the international competitiveness of food and agricultural products in the region; strengthening our commitment in the regional disease control programmes; combatting Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU); strengthening collaboration in the area of research and development; and promoting sustainable use and management of natural resources,” the minister added.
Upon arrival, His Royal Highness was greeted by the minister.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Dr Le Quoc Doanh as Chairman of the 40th AMAF Meeting was also present to greet His Royal Highness.
The event began with the recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah and Doa Selamat led by Syariah Appeal Court Judge Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Setia Raja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Suhaili bin Haji Mohiddin.
His Royal Highness visited an exhibition themed ‘Forest to Reef’ that showcases the diversity of biodiversity of flora and fauna in Brunei Darussalam.
Prior to leaving the event, His Royal Highness consented to take a group photo with the ASEAN agriculture and forestry ministers attending the 41st Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry.