University aims to help nation’s rice production

Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) intends to help mitigate issues of rice production such as soil quality, access to irrigation and climate change and to provide solutions in improving paddy plantation in Brunei through cross-cutting research projects involving science and technology.

Guest of honour, UTB Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Hajah Zohrah binti Haji Sulaiman said this at the Smart Watering System (SWS) Paddy Plantation Workshop.

The workshop organised by UTB under the ICT Virtual Organization of ASEAN Institutes (ASEAN IVO), National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) was held both virtually and physically at the university’s Lecture Theatre 2, Library Complex.

The event began with a speech by Country Lead SWS Paddy and Assistant Professor at UTB Dr Wida Susanty binti Haji Suhaili followed by remarks from Director Masugi Inoue of Global Alliance Department, NICT Japan.

Dr Wida Susanty began by introducing how they started the research with paddy projects in 2018 when it received the acceptance from ASEAN IVO. She said it started in Japan where they were exposed to such advance technology on how data communicate through a Nervenet network adopting mesh networking concept. The opportunity evolved when they went for site visits to Myanmar and Thailand to understand the context further within the ASEAN region.

Universiti Teknologi Brunei Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Hajah Zohrah binti Haji Sulaiman in a group photo. PHOTO: UTB

“With the involvement in paddy project, I was selected as the Brunei ASEAN Science and Technology Fellowship 2019/2020 and assigned to Department of Agriculture and Agrifood, which provides a good opportunity to understand the issue pertaining to paddy first hand both for the government, the executers and the farmers,” said Dr Wida Susanty.

The guest of honour said UTB has been working closely to explore the research capabilities by collaborating with Japan counterparts via research projects through ASEAN IVO NICT, JASTIP, JICA and some established national universities in Japan namely Osaka and Hokkaido universities. She expressed pleasure that UTB is venturing and expanding their network with renowned and established research bodies in Japan as well as with local organisations and university.

Professor Dr Hajah Zohrah said the workshop is a platform where academics, research students, policymakers, and practitioners share and discuss their research findings and critical analysis on current issues on paddy plantation. “Through regular academic exchanges among not only scholars but also various experts from the public and private sectors, this human network will contribute to the consolidation for mutual cooperation”. She said the multi-disciplinary interaction, where research knowledge and experiences are being shared is a good way forward in encouraging collaboration.

Themed ‘Lessons Learned on Paddy within the Region’, the event aimed to discuss on the best way forward to understand the best practices on paddy management. The workshop brought together experts from local and regional organisations and universities – Department of Agriculture and Agrifood, Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP), Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), Zeigler Experiment Station of International Rice Research Institutes (ZES IRRI) from Philippines, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) from Malaysia, National Electronic and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC) from Thailand, Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB) from Indonesia and UTB to deliver their experiences on paddy related areas.