Brunei records 44 % increase in rice output

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BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

RICE production jumped 44 per cent in Brunei last year, according to data from the Agriculture and Agrifood Department.

The department said Brunei produced 1,983 metric tonnes of rice last year, up from 1,382 metric tonnes in 2014.

The increase in rice production was recorded about a year after the government said it did not meet its 60 per cent rice self-sufficiency target by 2015.

Khairunnisa Hj Omar Ali, the department’s head of Rice Research and Development Unit, attributed the increase to several reasons including higher padi yields in Brunei-Muara and Temburong districts.

In an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday, she said Brunei-Muara district also saw an increase in padi cultivation areas from 270 hectares in 2014 to 378 hectares last year.

Khairunnisa said Temburong district was able to increase its rice production to 500 metric tonnes last year compared to 300 metric tonnes in the previous year.

The rice cultivation area in Temburong remained the same at 238 hectares, she noted.

“We (the DAA) have also been active in conducting field trials with local farmers for MRQ76, a Malaysian rice variety and BDR5, which was produced by the department, further contributing to the increase in productivity,” she said.

It was previously reported that BDR5 is an inbred rice introduced by the DAA that is said to be more drought-tolerant in an attempt to increase domestic rice production.

The new inbred rice line named Brunei Darussalam Rice 5 was developed through cross-breeding between Laila rice (a modern rice variety) and beras pusu (a popular traditional rice variety in Brunei).

Khairunnisa added that the weather may have also played a part in production increase, adding that there were no significant complaints of floods by the padi farmers. Statistics also showed that there was a decrease in number of padi farmers last year with 835 as opposed to 891 in 2014.

The Brunei Times