| Lyna Mohamad |
HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday called for more efforts and commitment for the continuing progress of the country’s agricultural sector.
The monarch made the call delivering his titah on the occasion of Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah’s 16th Hari Raya celebration at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas.
In noting the encouraging output from the agricultural, agrifood and fisheries sector from 1998 to 2017, His Majesty said, “These positive developments are a sign that there are ample opportunities for the development of this sector… All that remains now are our efforts and commitment for its advancement.
“I am pleased to welcome the presence of the farmers, entrepreneurs, businesses, youth and students involved in the development of the agricultural sector, as they have an important role to play in the progress of this industry for Brunei.”
The monarch also welcomed the concept of matching agricultural entrepreneurs and producers with relevant retail businesses and supermarket chains.
“This should make the marketing of agricultural product more effective,” said His Majesty, adding, “This approach should expand the agricultural market both locally and abroad.
“It has come to my notice that several initiatives such as contract farming and business-matching are being actively carried out, in order to facilitate access to this market.
“I greatly value cooperative efforts such as these, and I hope for more involvement from local supermarkets, wholesalers, restaurants, hotels and catering businesses in support of our government.
“However, apart from improving the agricultural sector, productivity, the use of high technology and the provision of an organised ecosystem, one important element that deserves our attention is human resources and manpower.
“Therefore, I call upon the youth to step forward as the primary source of manpower for our country’s agricultural industry.
“My government has already, and is currently implementing several initiatives to help spur growth in this sector.
“For instance, through the relevant ministries, I have given consent to a project called the ‘Pilot Project’ (Projek Perintis), which includes the allocation of sites for preliminary trials.
“This project gives Bruneians, particularly youth and permanent residents, the opportunity to take up farming activities or livestock breeding.
“Since the introduction of the Pilot Project two years ago, 46 entrepreneurs were offered the chance to develop pilot sites covering nearly 300 hectares of agricultural land. A total of 16 young entrepreneurs have already come forward to make the most of this opportunity. Well done, and my congratulations to all of you.”
Earlier, His Majesty assured, “We will carry out our country’s development in the proper way, without committing any violations. For instance, we will not forcefully take anyone’s land for the expansion of the farming sector, nor will we substitute it for an unsatisfactory price. This should not be allowed to happen in Brunei.”