Government targets production growth in primary sector
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism is targeting an increase in production of primary industries to meet domestic demand and for export, its minister said yesterday.
In his speech at yesterday’s dialogue between the ministry and Legislative Council members, Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Hj Ali Apong said Brunei’s small market size should not be used as an excuse to achieve targets.
“The new strategic plan and policy directions of the ministry, in line with the new year titah of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, will emphasise on increasing productivity of the primary resources and tourism industries,” he said.
“The ministry will intensify its efforts to ensure the output of the industries grows every year,” he said.
The minister also said the use of the latest technology in production processes would be promoted to lower unit cost of productions to make the local products cheaper and more competitive in the global market.
“As such, the ministry will also continue to promote investments, either local or in the form of foreign direct investments (FDI), so that these investments may bring in the technological expertise that would help increase productivity and lower costs of production.
“The ministry will pursue the participation of the private sector through public-private partnerships and outsourcing, among others, to reduce dependency on public funds in implementing the plans and policies to generate economic growth,” he added.
During the dialogue, the head of the Legislative Council (LegCo) members’ delegation advocated rice production partnerships overseas.
Speaking to The Brunei Times after the closed-door meeting, Yang Berhormat Hj Ramli Hj Lahit said discussions centered primarily on efforts to increase agricultural productivity.
“For example, one of the proposals that were discussed was for local rice producers to enter into partnership with their counterparts from neighbouring countries to grow rice in other countries where agricultural land is abundant,” he said.
“This is because our country has limited land for agricultural use, which limits our ability to produce the output needed to meet the demand,” he said.
YB Hj Ramli, who is also the penghulu of Tutong’s Mukim Telisai, also said the practice of vertical farming, which involves agriculture on building levels that rise vertically instead of the traditional method of farming on the natural landscape, should be practised in Brunei to maximise land use.
He also suggested a meat processing factory be opened using meat imported from countries with better economies of scale.
“We can import meat from other countries that produce much more than us and can sell it at a cheaper price, process and package it for added value and then export them so that we do not have to rely on our own local livestock production which would limit the output,” he said.
Yesterday’s dialogue at the ministry’s headquarters was part of a series of meetings between LegCo members and the various ministries ahead of the next LegCo session in March.
The Brunei Times