His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam toured several farms, including livestock breeding farms to see the agricultural methods and technology used by local entrepreneurs. Accompanying His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik and His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Mateen.

His Majesty first visited a farm under the Tithe Recipient Capacity Building Programme, PROPAZ which is supervised by the Brunei Islamic Religious Council, MUIB at the Brunei Agricultural Research Centre in KampungKilanas. Upon arriving, His Majesty was greeted by Yang BerhormatPehinUdanaKhatibDatoPaduka Seri SetiaUstaz Haji AwangBadaruddin bin PengarahDatoPaduka Haji Awang Othman, the Minister of Religious Affairs as the President of MUIB and Yang BerhormatDato Seri SetiaAwang Haji Ali bin Apong, the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism.

His Majesty was briefed on the PROPAZ Az-Zira'ahProgramme which aims to empower the poor and destitute as well as open job and entrepreneurship opportunities to the participants.

The 1.1 hectare farm is operated by 5 PROPAZ participants. The chilli farm operated by AwangRosli bin Haji Ramli and AwangAfandi bin Kadir, recipients of the Basic Tithe Distribution produces about two thousand and eight hundred fifty kilogrammes of chillies per season. Teaching the tithe recipients to engage in agriculture, the PROPAZ Az-Zira'ahProgramme helps the participants gain substantial income.

Planting lettuce using the hydro-phonic farming method also attracted His Majesty's attention. The PROPAZ programme participants receive skills training that covers urban and conventional agriculture. The concept is agribusiness and the direction is selling the farm produce commercially using methods they learnt through professional, comprehensive and organised training.

His Majesty then toured the corn farm of DayangNorsalinabinti Abdullah and her son AwangMdSaifuddin bin Emran. Each harvest of the baby corn crop produces 500 dollars while each corn harvest brings three thousand dollars. The PROPAZ AzZira'ahProgramme provides instructors to ensure the participants are assisted until they become proficient and not neglected.

Ladang RZ Prisma Enterprise located near the PROPAZ farm was also visited by His Majesty. The Monarch was greeted by PengiranDatoPaduka Haji Abdul Rahman bin Pengiran Seri InderaPengiran Haji Ismail, the company's Manager. His Majesty consented to plant a Nam Dok Mai manggo tree at the farm.

This one hectare farm is a pilot projects under the Agriculture and Agrifood Department since 2017. Producing approximately 7 thousand lettuce plants in the initial stage, the company is now capable of producing 17 thousand such plants a month or about one thousand and seven hundred kilogrammes.

The shift from agricultural activities using traditional methods to technology oriented and market guided farming is not an easy vision to accomplish. It requires strong spirit and desire to progress among the people as well as the entrepreneurship and competitiveness of the private sector to ensure the enterprise produces good result.

The Monarch also toured the LadangAmeenfarmAgrotech and Trading which is also located at the Brunei Agricultural Research Centre in KampungKilanas. His Majesty was welcomed by Awang Haji Irwandy bin Haji Lois, the farm's Manager.

At the farm, His Majesty witnessed the usage of the Fertigation and Greenhouse systems for vegetables including tomatoes, eggplant, water melons and rock melons. The 4-hectares farm is a Pilot Project under the Agriculture and Agrifood Department that began in 2016.

Last year, the farm produced more than six thousand kilogrammes of vegetables and fruits and up to May this year, the farm produced more than nine thousand kilogrammes. With a mission to produce high quality vegetables and fruits, the company targets producing 30 thousand kilogrammes of vegetables and fruits by 2020. In line with the country's rapid economic development, the agricultural sector is also experiencing change. To align agricultural development with the universal economic progress, the Agriculture and Agrifood Department has taken serious measures to transform agriculture into market driven agribusiness.

Ladang Perusahaan RizaFudhlana at Tanah Tuah Agricultural Development Area in KampungBebatik-Kulapis was included in His Majesty's tour. His Majesty was greeted by Pengiran Haji Haris bin Pengiran Haji Duraman, the company's Manager. The Monarch viewed an exhibition on the company's development. The farm started in 1994 using the conventional method and then changed to the closed coop system on a four hectares site in 2014 for poultry farming.

This year, ten large coops are fully operational and 3 more are expected to be completed by the end of the year. Each coop can accommodate from 20 thousand to 23 thousand chickens per rotation. Last year, the company produced more than 900 thousand chickens to be marketed to shops and supermarkets in the country. The company intends to have 30 coops before 2020 and its own abattoir. It also plans to enter the broiler industry and produce chicken feed.

His Majesty also consented to plant the "BelianSimpur" tree. The development of modern agriculture continues with the progress of innovative science oriented technology that has helped in building the agriculture and agrifood sector. The field progresses in line with the strategic partnerships between the government and the private sector.

Ladang Syarikat Tunas Harapan Agricultural Farm SdnBhd at the Sibongkok Agricultural Development Area in KampungMasin was also toured by His Majesty. The Monarch was greeted by Awang Lau How Teck, the Manager of the farm.

The farm was opened in 2000 using the Greenhouse and Drip Irrigation systems on a 20 hectares site. The company which grows vegetables and fruits such as fig, dragon fruit, star fruit, and guava continues to progress and supplies its produce to its business outlets. Up to September this year alone, the farm's output was almost 104 metric tonnes which was valued at 280 thousand dollars.

His Majesty's visits to the agricultural development areas reflected His Majesty's deep interest in the well-being and efforts of the farmers and breeders in developing the country's agricultural industry as one of the major sectors of the national economy.

Source: Radio Television Brunei