Since 2010, the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) has recorded growth in the primary resources sectors, which include agriculture, agrifood, fisheries and forestry. Brunei recorded a gross output of approximately BND650 million in 2020 compared to BND396 million in 2010, at a growth rate of 5.1 per cent per annum.
The agriculture and agrifood sector is one of the main sectors that can contribute to the growth of gross domestic product (GDP), with increasing numbers of active entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector which include crop, livestock and agrifood industries and agrobased food processing.
The increased involvement of entrepreneurs will directly support the government’s efforts in diversifying the economy while ensuring food security.
In 2020, the gross output value of the crop industry recorded a total of BND53.5 million, covering a wide range of vegetables and fruits, ornamental crops, flowers, paddy and various other crops including herbs and spices.
Several initiatives have been implemented to increase the production of crop commodities and encourage youth participation in the industry, one of which is the Pilot Project. Introduced in 2016, the Pilot Project provides opportunities to farmers including youth who are interested in exploring the potentials in agriculture. As of October 2021, an area of 522 hectares of Agricultural Development Area (KKP) has been offered to 85 participants, 45 of whom are youth entrepreneurs.
Among the Pilot Project’s youth entrepreneurs are Mori Enterprise running a merunggai (moringa oleifera) tree planting company; KW Amanah Enterprise running a chilli and asparagus plant company; Cropbee Farm with various seasonal and non-seasonal fruits; and Gropoint Sdn Bhd which produces muskmelons. In addition to the local crop products, local entrepreneurs are also leaning towards the production of high value products using modern farming technology.
Gropoint Sdn Bhd is one of the local companies involved in high-value and high-tech agricultural projects, using the closed house method and fertigation system to produce premium muskmelons. It is also the first local company to penetrate the export market to Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and China. In 2020, Gropoint exported 75.94 metric tonnes of muskmelons.
The gross output value of the crop industry recorded a total of BND53.5 million, covering a wide range of vegetables and fruits, ornamental crops, flowers, paddy, and various crops including herbs and spices.
From 2010 to 2020, the country’s paddy production increased from 2,000 tonnes to 4,000 tonnes. In terms of productivity, production increased from two metric tonnes per hectare to six metric tonnes per hectare within the same period.
One of the strategies to increase farm yield and productivity is to identify rice varieties that achieve high productivity and are suitable for planting in paddy areas. In 2009, Brunei began cultivating the Laila inbred variety and achieved an average yield of three metric tonnes per hectare per season. It can be grown twice a year compared to traditional paddy.
After the Laila variety, several other inbred varieties have also been introduced including MRQ76 and BDR5 which is a hybrid of Laila and Pusu rice varieties, with an average yield of three to four metric tonnes per hectare.
In addition to inbred varieties, the MPRT through the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA) has also identified high-yield hybrid variety Sembada188, with an average yield of five to six metric tonnes per hectare per season. In the main season of 2020/2021, a total of 1,714 metric tonnes of paddy were produced across 490 hectares of farmland planted with Sembada188.
In order to further increase the country’s rice production, DAA also strives to continue supplying Titih hybrid paddy seeds to farmers as additional paddy varieties. One method is by doubling the Titih rice seeds from the parent seeds obtained from Sunland Company, a company in Singapore.
Efforts to multiply Titih seedlings and production of Titih seeds (F1 generation) in the DAA Study Area started in October 2019. The multiplication work takes six planting seasons with two seasons per year – main season and off-season for a total period of three years.
In addition to the local crop products, local entrepreneurs are also leaning towards the production of high value products using modern farming technology.
The production of Titih seeds entered its fifth season, when they were harvested in November 2021. According to the plan, Titih seeds will be planted in stages in several farms with irrigation systems. Since the opening ceremony of the Paddy Cultivation Project in Kandol Agricultural Development Area in 2019, an area of 28.3 hectares under Phase 1 has been opened in stages.
Five planting seasons have been implemented. From October 2019 to March 2021, 155 metric tonnes of paddy were obtained from the four planting seasons. Meanwhile, infrastructure works for Phase 2A started in April 2021, involving a paddy cultivation area of 145 hectares and 58 hectares of water reservoir area. The project is expected to be completed this December. To date, 20 hectares of area under Phase 2A have been completed and handed over to PaddyCo Sdn Bhd for 2021/2022 main planting season.
The country aims to increase the supply
of red meat, namely beef and mutton with the opening of sites for ruminant livestock enterprises.
Brunei has been 100 per cent self-sufficient for the supply of chicken eggs since 1994, while the production of whole chicken has almost reached 100 per cent self-sufficiency since 2000.
In an effort to increase the supply of broilers and chicken eggs in Brunei, several strategies have been implemented such as increased production of chicken coops; unlimited entry of chicks for broiler breeders or laying hen breeders; increased supply of broiler chicks to entrepreneurs; importing broilers as ingredients for food processing activities; and upgrading energy supply capacity to increase poultry farming activities using closed coops.
The country also aims to increase the supply of red meat, namely beef and mutton, with the opening of sites for ruminant livestock enterprises. An area of 57 hectares of Batang Mitus Agricultural Development Area has been offered to PDS Abattoir Sdn Bhd (PDS) and commenced operations in April 2020. The feedlot system farm, including the area for the cultivation of Napier grass, is the first farm for the production of cattle dedicated to fattening before slaughter.
The farm can accommodate 6,000 to 7,000 cows per year for a period of five years of operation, and is expected to reach up to 10,000 per year from the sixth year of operation. Furthermore, the production is expected to increase selfsufficiency in red meat requirements by at least 80 per cent.
DAA through the Livestock Industry and Veterinary Services Division, has also implemented efforts in preparation of exporting livestock commodities including chicken eggs and chicken meat to countries such as Singapore and Japan.
Through a business matching programme, food processing operators can ensure continuous supply of raw materials such as fruits, vegetables and fresh livestock from local farms. DAA acts as the programme coordinator and is actively working to identify food processing operators and channel information on raw materials required to farmers in the crop industry and livestock industry.
As a proactive measure to promote business opportunities in the agrifood industry, information on the use of technology in the production of value-added products is always applied and shared with entrepreneurs and parties interested in venturing into the food business such as chilli sauce manufacturing, juice and meat products.
In addition, DAA also provides advisory services to increase production capacity of crops and livestock. Based on current statistics, the value of agrifood industry output up to June 2021 increased by 25.6 per cent compared to 2020 for the same period, namely from BND60.3 million (2020) to BND75.7 million (2021).
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