Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong chaired a special meeting between village heads, poultry farm owners and senior officers from relevant government agencies to address the issue of fly infestation at several villages in Mukim Pengkalan Batu.
In his opening remarks, the minister highlighted the concerns about the issue of flies, as well as the problems being faced by the villagers living near agricultural projects managed by the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT).
During the discussion, probable causes for the fly infestation were cited, including the use of unprocessed chicken manure as compost fertiliser by several agriculture farms in the area.
The Brunei Muara District Office stated that there were a number of illegal business activities being carried out, along with the setting up of workers’ quarters without proper sanitation and waste disposal, which likely contributed to the fly infestation.
The Brunei-Muara District Office issued several compound fines to companies and farm owners found in violation of the Minor Offences Act, Chapter 30.
The Brunei-Muara District Office also stated that farms that receive waste material and fail to store it properly will also be subjected to compound fines under the Act.
The Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation under the Ministry of Development (MoD) said there was a possibility that irresponsible parties sell chicken manure to farmers for a profit, instead of consigning it to the waste disposal area at the Sungai Paku landfill.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) voiced its concerns and agreed on the importance of maintaining hygiene and cleanliness, so that the fly infestation could immediately be addressed before leading to an outbreak of disease in the country.
Poultry operators and owners also shared their efforts in controlling the spread of flies at the farms, including fogging with insecticides and disposing of chicken manure at the landfill.
A number of measures to address the issue were discussed, among which was to cease the use and distribution of chicken manure among agriculture farmers; and the constant maintenance of cleanliness at poultry farms such as chicken coops, drainage and sewage, to prevent them from becoming breeding grounds for flies. Also emphasised was the use of pest control services, especially at the sites located near villages, housing and industry, as a trial measure to reduce the potential breeding of flies. Farm owners were also urged to set up a wire mesh at enclosed chicken coops after emptying and cleaning them, before letting in a new batch of chickens.
Private sector firms were also encouraged to provide services for the collection and processing of waste from poultry farms to produce organic fertilisers. In the medium and long-term term run, it was suggested that chicken farm operators practise systematic waste management, such as utilising machines for the drying of chicken manure.
The MPRT’s Department of Agriculture and Agrifood, as well as relevant agencies, particularly the Working Committee on Dealing with Issues of Cleanliness at Farms and Slaughter Centres, will continue to monitor from time to time, to make sure that agriculture farms adhere to the prescribed standards of hygiene.
Anyone found in violation of the Environmental Protection and Management Order 2016 under paragraphs 7, 8, 14, 16, 17, 19, 20, 37 and 38, as well as Chapter 30 of the Minor Offences Act for the disposal of rubbish in public areas, will be issued with a compound fine.
Those found violating the Minor Offence Act will be levied with a compound fine of not more than BND500. Failure to do so would result in a further fine of BND1,000, or a month’s imprisonment, for the first convicted offence.
For subsequent offences, the penalty is a fine of BND3,000 and a prison term of up to three months.
Among the participants at the meeting were Acting Permanent Secretary at the MPRT Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abdul Wahab, Legislative Council member and Village Head of Kampong Limau Manis Yang Berhormat Haji Mohimin bin Haji Johari @ Jahari, Village Head of Kampong Masin Moksin bin Haji Kamis and Village Head of Kampong Panchor Murai Haji Ismail bin