LegCo members visit Brunei-Muara farm sites

James Kon

Members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) yesterday visited a number of Brunei-Muara District agricultural and fishery sites to get a better understanding on the latest development and achievements of the industry in the Sultanate.

The tour is part of a series of visits organised by the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT).

It aims to showcase to the Legislative Council the techniques and system of modern farming as well as the technologies used by the entrepreneurs to raise productivity.

It also highlights the employment opportunity for locals and the involvement of locals as owners or joint ventures with foreign investors.

Joining the 11-member LegCo delegation were Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, Acting Permanent Secretary at the MPRT Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abdul Wahab, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the MPRT Haji Abdul Halidi bin Haji Mohd Salleh, and officials from the ministry.

The delegation first visited Gropoint Sdn Bhd located at the Tungku Agricultural Development Area (KKP).

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong and Legislative Council members in a group photo with officials from Gropoint Sdn Bhd. PHOTOS: JAMES KON
LegCo members tasting the muskmelons

The delegation toured the facilities and sampled the locally grown muskmelon. The company is a joint venture for growing non-seasonal fruits such as muskmelon, watermelon, papaya and golden passion fruits.

Gropoint Sdn Bhd uses a greenhouse system and fertigation system to produce high quality premium muskmelons.

Currently, the company has 20 hectares and six greenhouses. It hopes to further expand the areas to build more greenhouses. Eight locals are employed at the company.

Since 2018, Gropoint Sdn Bhd has successfully produced 24,000kg of muskmelons and last year, the company has exported 18,000kg of muskmelons worth BND140,000 to Singapore and Malaysia.

In December 2019, the MPRT and the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China signed a Protocol on Phytosanitary Requirements for the export of fresh melon from Brunei Darussalam to China.

The signing will allow Gropoint Sdn Bhd to expand and grow its export market to the People’s Republic of China which will positively impact the growth of the fruit industry in Brunei Darussalam.

The LegCo delegation continued their visit with a trip to the Village Consultative Council (MPK) of Tungku/Katok farm at C3, KKP Tungku.

Measuring 15 hectares, the pineapple farm is led by Tungku/Katok Village Head Haji Ismail bin Haji Rajab and was established in 2018.

The delegation also visited MC Biotech Sdn Bhd at Bio Innovation Corridor, Kampong Tungku, Plot 23-25. The company is managed by Yuki Kaneda and produces microalgae (astaxanthin) on an area of 4.1 hectare. Starting its operations in 2016, the company has successfully produced two metric tonnes of astaxanthin at an estimated value of BND600,000 since 2017. The company has 35 employees of whom 32 are locals.

Meanwhile, the delegation also visited Syarikat Perusahaan Bakar bin Berudin in KKP Luahan Jerudong.

The duck farm started its business in 2014 on 2.5 hectares of land and recently added another 2.5 hectares to increase productivity.

In 2019, the company successfully bred 11,652 ducks compared to 1,017 in 2017.

The delegation next visited Greenthumb Farm Sdn Bhd at Lot K9 & K10, at the Brunei Agriculture Research Centre.

Located on 5.7 hectares of land, the company is managed by Mohammed Dzairenny bin Haji Muslim and started its production of mushrooms in 2018.

This was followed with a visit to Syarikat Haji Sapar located at Lot 16, KKP Lumapas.

Located on two hectares of land, the company is managed by Wati binti Haji Bujang and started operations in 1998 with vegetables and tapioca plantations. Last year, the company had 55,293kg of produce with an estimated worth of BND124,626 compared to 33,088kg worth BND67,471 in 2017.

The visits continued with a trip to Syarikat Hajah Arnie located at Lot 15, KKP Lumapas with a land size of 1.75 hectares.

Managed by Hajah Arnie binti Haji Ali, the company began operations in 1997 with vegetables, tapioca and a variety of produce. Last year, the farm managed to produce 12,620kg worth BND32,527 compared to 11,077kg worth BND21,593 in 2017.

The delegation’s final destination was a visit to Berry Good Sdn Bhd at the Lumapas agriculture station. Managed by Chui Eui Sang @ Eddy Choi, the company grows strawberries using greenhouses and temperature modification and cooling technology since 2017.