ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
High yield rice varieties will help Brunei attain self-sufficiency
THE government is working on identifying rice varieties capable of producing an annual yield of 12 metric tonnes per hectare to attain self-sufficiency in rice.
Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Hj Ali Hj Apong said once the varieties have been identified, the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA) will introduce them to farmers in 2019.
A research will be done to identify the varieties, he said during the 12th Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting.
Brunei only managed four per cent self-sufficiency in rice in April 2015, missing its 60 per cent target owing to lack of irrigation and crop diseases.
This was the minister’s response to a question by LegCo Member Yang Berhormat Hj Sulaiman Hj Ahad who asked about the government’s assistance to farmers in Temburong, the sultanate’s biggest rice-growing district.
YB Hj Sulaiman said farmers need modern technology and technical expertise to increase yield.
YB Dato Hj Ali said DAA has helped farmers get fertilisers, pesticides and machinery to plant Pusu, Bario, Adan and Laila rice varieties.
He said the department has also conducted research on the viability of planting BDR5 (Brunei Darussalam Rice 5) - a hybrid of Laila and Pusu varieties - at a plot in Lekiyun in Temburong.
BDR5 can be planted twice a year, is drought-tolerate and can potentially yield between three and five metric tonnes per hectare.
The BDR5 has been identified as an alternative to other local varieties which need 150 days before they can be harvested and can only be planted once a year.
YB Dato Hj Ali said the development of this variety will ensure that Brunei has a strong and sustainable rice production industry.
He said Temburong rice farmer have been using planting machines since 2009.
However, there are several plantation areas unsuitable for use of heavy machinery, said the minister.
“Land in the areas of Kg Perdayan, Lekiyun, Senukoh and Negalang are not suitable for machines because of peat soil. The ground is also unstable and there is no proper irrigation...so only light machinery can be used,” he said.
The minister said tractors have only been used at the end of 2015 in Kg Selapon where the land is more suitable and has irrigation systems.
Apart from that, no farmers in Temburong can afford heavy machinery despite the subsidies offered by the DAA under its incentive programme, he said.
YB Dato Hj Ali added rice planting machines can also be used in Temburong provided there is a modern seedling facility in the district.
Letters that do not contain full contact information cannot be published.
Letters become the property of AseanAffairs and may be republished in any format.
They typically run 150 words or less and may be edited
submit your comment in the box below