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Take to agriculture as a profession, students told

Agricultural research and development between the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood and higher education institutions in the country to boost local production was highlighted at the 20th session of the Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting yesterday.

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin in response to a question from LegCo member Yang Berhormat Lau How Teck said, “Higher education institutions in agriculture are collaborating with the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood where research and findings are formulated for the farmers. For instance, there are three researches on soil improvement with Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) for farms in the Sultanate. These collaborations include chicken manure, organic farming concept as well as other techniques as well as introduction on vertical farming and fertigation to enhance productivity. UNISSA is also studying shelf life in maintaining the freshness of the product.”

The minister added, “With Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB), the department is collaborating on research in packaging and irrigation, while Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) is working on paddy farming trials. The Fisheries Department is conducting a breeding and hatchery research with an agency from Singapore to produce fish fries.”

Meanwhile, on job opportunities for graduates taking agricultural course at UNISSA and IBTE, Minister of Education Yang Berhormat Datin Seri Setia Dr Hajah Romaizah binti Haji Mohd Salleh said, “Higher education institutions also provide career guidance, not just during the course but also after graduation. They also provide support services with other agencies such as the Department of Agriculture and AgriFood, banks to assist in financial model and Darussalam Enterprise (DARe).”

Yang Berhormat Datin Seri Setia Dr Hajah Romaizah added, “This requires cooperation from all through a whole of nation approach to attain self-sufficiency in agrifood and agriculture.

“The Ministry of Education hopes that the students will consider agriculture a profession. Based on employment data on their marketability, it showed that among IBTE students, 70 per cent are employed within six months after graduation in 2020 which increased to 82 per cent in 2022. “Meanwhile, out of 89 graduates in 2021 and 2022 specialising in crop technology, veterinary, livestock management, some 73 graduates or 82 per cent have been employed, mostly in the private sector (65 graduates).”

Meanwhile to a query by LegCo member Yang Berhormat Zainol bin Mohamed pertaining to making agriculture a subject in the secondary level, it was revealed that these subjects have already been incorporated in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) programme. – Azlan Othman

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin delivers a speech at the 20th session of the Legislative Council meeting. PHOTO: INFOFOTO
ABOVE & BELOW: LegCo member Yang Berhormat Lau How Teck; and LegCo member Yang Berhormat Zainol bin Haji Mohamed. PHOTO: INFOFOTO
PHOTO: INFOFOTO
A worker at a fish farm. PHOTO: ABDUL MALIK BIN HAJI ABDUL RAZAK

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