| Danial Norjidi |
THE topics of skill enhancement for entrepreneurs with regards to agriculture, fisheries and livestock as well as the broiler chicken sector and a low cost farming initiative were among those raised in the afternoon session of the 15th Legislative Council meeting on Thursday.
During the session, one of the questions put forward by member of the Legislative Council (LegCo) Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pendikar Alam Dato Paduka Seri Haji Hasrin bin Dato Paduka Haji Sabtu pertained to what steps and initiatives that have been and will be carried out by the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) in further enhancing the capabilities, knowledge and skills of local entrepreneurs in specific areas such as agriculture, livestock and fisheries to obtain appropriate certifications such as Good Agriculture Practice (GAP) and the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification.
“With these certifications, it will enhance the image of entrepreneurs not only among the community of traders and investors but also as a foundation and a boom for entrepreneurs expanding and furthering their respective companies, including exporting their products overseas,” he said.
In response, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong said that, with regard to the initiatives taken to improve skills, the ministry has provided various training guidelines for the agricultural, fishery and livestock sectors which must be followed to ensure that output is of quality, in line with good agricultural practices and meet local, ASEAN and international standards, which they must be complied to so as to qualify as meeting the requirements of GAP and HACCP.
“Now it has become a requirement, especially for those who have planned not only to market products locally, but to be sold out of the country,” he said, noting that most buyers, whether from within or outside the country, choose to have the appropriate qualifications.
Another question pertained to poultry farming. Responding to this, the minister noted that the broiler chicken sector is known as one that can be developed to contribute to the objective of increasing the output of the agriculture sector in significantly contributing to the country’s GDP.
The minister said that the broiler sector is considered to be more than half of the value of the agricultural sector output, and that it is growing rapidly because of the system conversion from conventional open systems to ‘closed house’ systems.
He noted that in closed systems, temperatures can be controlled, while open systems can cause different temperatures.
“Although the conversion from the open system costs a lot, it is safer in terms of death rate and disease,” he said. “Therefore the MPRT encourages all, according to their respective capabilities, to switch to this closed system.”
He also added that a number of large companies have taken quick steps to change to a closed system, and affirmed that this will contribute to the improvement of the broiler sector.
Another question pertained to the MPRT’s initiative on simple, cost-effective farming for low-income groups, including those who are unemployed.
On this, the minister shared that the programme is offered to those in need of assistance under the Community Development Department (JAPEM) and the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB).
“So, as a contribution of the ministry to society, especially those that need welfare support, this simple and inexpensive technique is shared,” he said. “A system of hydroponics that was introduced costs only BND30 to build, but can produce a monthly income of BND300 from grown vegetables. That is why it was introduced to those parties.”
“In fact, we are also introducing it to the residents of Kampong Ayer, because this structure can be built in the vicinity of the houses to plant various types of crops such as chilli, cucumber and leaf vegetables.”
With regards to its development, the minister affirmed that the technology already exists, and said, “We are ready to help them to build the structure and teach the techniques to cultivate it, to offer its seeds and the ways to grow them.”