| Rokiah Mahmud |
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 graced the first harvesting of the high-yield Sembada 188 rice variety at the Wasan Agricultural Development Area (KKP Wasan) in Mukim Pengkalan Batu.
Accompanying His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik; and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen.
Upon arrival, His Majesty and Their Royal Highnesses were greeted by Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong; Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Mokti bin Haji Mohd Daud; and Minister at the PMO and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah.
His Majesty and Their Royal Highnesses were also greeted by the permanent secretaries, deputy permanent secretaries and senior officials from the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT).
Shortly after arrival, His Majesty was briefed on the latest development of the Sembada 188 project and the Agriculture and Agrifood Incentive Scheme, by Head of Paddy and Crop Protection Section at the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood Khairunissa binti Haji Omar Ali.
His Majesty also listened to a briefing by Head of Agricultural Engineering Services Saidin bin Namit on the upgrading and deepening of the Imang Dam, which would increase its capacity by as much as 10 per cent or one million cubic metres in water supply to agricultural areas; the underground water exploration project to address irrigation problems; and the opening of the Kandol area for commercial rice projects on 500 hectares of land in the Belait District.
Later, the Manager of Yaz & Wyn Enterprise Ezwyn bin Haji Bakar, briefed His Majesty on the progress of the commercial rice production project on 110 hectares of land in Kampong Panchor Murai ‘A’ and ‘B’.
To bless the event, a recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah and Doa Selamat was read by State Mufti Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned.
Shortly after, His Majesty delivered a titah, urging for more resolute measures towards raising self-sufficiency for the country’s food supply.
The monarch was then invited to board the harvester vehicle, or Jentuai, to lead the harvesting of the fully matured crop at the Setiakawan Cooperative (KOSEKA) rice field in KKP Wasan.
His Royal Highness the Crown Prince also joined in the harvesting of the Sembada 188 rice crop.
The harvesting was accompanied with a Tausyeh Syukur, performed by 15 students of the Religious Teachers University College of Seri Begawan (KUPU SB).
Earlier in the day, His Majesty visited a number of agricultural farms including Ideal Multifeed Farm (B) Sdn Bhd in Kampong Bengkurong Masin and Syarikat Perusahaan Haji Mohd Salleh bin Haji Ludin dan Anak-Anak at KKP Batumpu.
From KKP Wasan, His Majesty next proceeded to the Rice Mill Processing Centre for a view of the milling process under Syarikat Pertanian Tropikal Utama, with the packaging and sales being handled by the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood.
His Majesty and Their Royal Highnesses then visited Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) Agro-Technology Campus (ATC), for a closer look at the learning sites of the IBTE students.
Before concluding the visit, His Majesty consented to a group photo and a Junjung Ziarah from the students of IBTE.
In October 2018, His Majesty also took part in the planting of the first seedlings of the Sembada 188 hybrid variety.
The project is one of the many efforts being carried out by the MPRT to boost local rice production, while at the same time supporting His Majesty’s call for a national agricultural strategic plan to ensure food security for the country.
The Sembada 188, which has an average yield of five to six tonnes per hectare in one season, was the result of a collaborative research project conducted by the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood with the PT Biogene Plantation of Indonesia.