24 C
Brunei
Friday, December 2, 2022
24 C
Brunei
Friday, December 2, 2022
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    Long road to grape success

    Daniel Lim

    When people picture growing grapes, most imagine a farm located in a temperate climate. Few would believe grapes can be grown in Brunei’s hot and humid climate.

    However, vines with grapes can be seen dangling at a small home-managed plantation in Kampong Tunggulian in Mukim Sungai Liang, Belait District.

    Managed by Bui Quat Yee, the farm is home to not only grapes but also a variety of crops.

    I spoke to Bui and visited his plantation to learn how he grows and harvests his crops – especially grapes in Bruneian weather.

    “I started this plantation many years ago. It took me around three years of tending the plant before it started to produce grapes,” he said.

    Since then, he has honed his skills and technique in caring for the grapes.

    Grapes being grown at the home-based farm in Kampong Tunggulian, Belait District. PHOTOS: DANIEL LIM
    Bui Quat Yee tending to the grapes

    “There are certain techniques needed to stimulate the grapes’ growth and it’s not just having the right type of soil and fertiliser.

    “If you try on any soil, they might not grow grapes. Caring for the plant is important, especially in pruning the stems, roots and leaves,” said Bui.

    He recalled how he started growing grapes as part of efforts to establish closer ties with other farmers in the district and beyond.

    “I met one of my friends in Kuala Belait more than 10 years ago and he had successfully grown grapes on his home-based farm. I was surprised that this kind of crop could be grown, leading me to start growing grapes.”

    The type of grape that Bui has grown is not dependent on season unlike others.

    “It is not dependent on seasons, but rather how attentive you are in caring for the plant.

    With proper care, it can result in the growth of grapes,” he said.

    “Growing grapes like this in Bruneian weather takes skill as well as know-how such as ensuring the right amount of water to make sure the roots are not damaged, which can be detrimental to the health of the plant.”

    He also said with Brunei climates, there are chances that the grape plants will not fully mature. Bui said it is part of the learning experience.

    “Grapes, once it bears fruits and harvested with continued care will continue to bear fruit,” Bui said.

    Bui said with public awareness and interest, it would be a sight to behold if there were rows and valleys of grapes in the Mukim Sungai Liang area.

    “Certainly, if everyone starts planting grapes in Sungai Liang, it has the potential to become a commercial product of the village and mukim. I would be more than happy to assist teaching and disseminating knowledge to those looking to grow not only grapes but also other crops,” Bui said.

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