Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin said the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) aims to increase the contribution of the fisheries, agriculture and agrifood industry to at least BND1 billion by 2035.
A focus is to increase production from primary sector and downstream activities.
“The focus of this year’s theme is to encourage more value-added activities to increase production. Strategies will include not only having more farms but also increase production of current farms,” said the minister.
To achieve this, the ministry is encouraging the use of technology and set ambitious targets which will have a big impact on the nation’s economy.
“Insya Allah, with the support from the ministry and as well as farmers, fishermen, livestock breeders, the Sultanate’s aspiration to have food security and BND1 billion contributions to the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2035 is achievable,” said the minister.
Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Abdul Manaf said these during a mini expo to mark the 12th Farmers, Livestock Breeders and Fishermen’s Day at Muhibbah Hall, Jalan Airport Lama in Berakas yesterday.
Themed ‘Empowering Value Added Product, Driver of Nation Economy’, the event is organised by the MPRT through the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood and the Fisheries Department.
Earlier, Permanent Secretary at the MPRT Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abdul Wahab shared that the gross production of agriculture, fisheries and agrifood sectors have increased in tonnage and value.
The agricultural sector covering livestock, plantation and paddy saw an increase of 32.12 per cent from BND320.63 million in 2020 to BND423.62 million in 2021 while the fisheries industry jumped 37.7 per cent from BND139.05 million to BND190.95 million in the same period.
The agrifood industry recorded a rise of 10.96 per cent to BND166.69 million in 2021 from BND150.23 million in 2020.
The Farmers, Livestock Breeders and Fishermen’s Day is aimed at giving recognition to food producers for their contributions towards a nation’s economy and producing a nation’s sustenance.
The minister toured booths set up by agencies supporting the agriculture and fisheries sectors.
There were also competitions open for public participation to rouse their interest as well as stalls selling produce from farmers, livestock breeders, fishermen and agrifood operators from all four districts.
The expo also saw 11 special awards being presented to companies and entrepreneurs by Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Abdul Manaf.
Among them were WYWY Farm, Gropoint Sdn Bhd, Syarikat Nurishah, PDS Abattoir Sdn Bhd and KN Nursery, as well as entrepreneur Haji Sahron bin Haji Omar, who thanked the ministry for its support.
Haji Sahron was recognised for consistent production of fish over the years.
According to him, his enterprise produces three to four tonnes of fish a month and the fresh catch are distributed to Jerudong Fish Market and restaurants.
Haji Sahron said the market demand has been high, thus he and his crew, which comprises family members, are thankful that he has been granted access to all fishing zones under the Fisheries Department’s jurisdiction.
The entrepreneur also feels fortunate to be able to fund his operations, and is now pondering expanding the business by setting up a company.
Haji Sahron said he most likely needs financial assistance and plans to have a discussion with relevant authorities in the near future.
He also admitted to facing numerous challenges, and among them is weather, which can affect the size of a day’s catch.
He also shared that he has lost a friend to bad weather condition.
“Running this business is a bittersweet experience. I shall leave it to Allah the Almighty to protect me and my family,” said Haji Sahron, adding that traumas should not hinder one’s ability to earn a living.