Locals will be given land for farm

National 2 minutes, 17 seconds

BELAIT

LAND for agriculture will be allocated to locals, provided they develop their lands instead of renting them out to a third party, said the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism.

Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Hj Ali Hj Apong yesterday commented on the matter seeing that there are many cases where agricultural lands provided by the ministry were rented out to third parties.

“We give them land but they rent it out to someone else; we are trying to avoid this kind of attitude as it sets a bad example to other farmers and reflect badly on the government,” he said.

“We want to produce crops that not only help the country, but also boost the morale of other farmers,” he added, explaining that it would also encourage farmers to sustain their businesses.

Despite the limited lands available, the minister said that the move remained an ongoing initiative, bringing the government’s hope for farmers to have large expansions on their farms; increasing Brunei’s potential to adapt hi-tech farming methods.

Some of the methods outlined by the minister included vertical farming and hydroponics, which could be done even within a limited amount of space for agriculture.

“We do not have much land (for agriculture) in Brunei as we need to save around 70 per cent of them for our forestry; the remaining may be used for other purposes, including housing and development projects,” he said.

“So we cannot afford to waste any space for agriculture. If it is possible, we should try to improve our farming technologies,” he added, urging farmers to also help do research on the best possible farming methods for Brunei.

Additionally, the minister also said that his ministry is also prepared to assist local farm developers in finding the right collaborative partners, if they see the need to do so to expand their farming businesses.

He said this while bringing the hope that there will be large farming business in Brunei that is capable of exporting their crops overseas, allowing the country to have a cost-effective production in agriculture.

Those who are interested to get assistances, including to having farming lands allocated to them, said the minister, are welcomed to approach his ministry through the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood.

He added that his ministry is also offering a lot of lands to interested farmers, especially at the Agri-Tech Park in Tutong where 40 hectares are respectively allocated do different types of farming including vegetables and fruits.

“Besides from that, there are also many other lands available for farmers outside of the Agri-Tech Park and they can always approach us,” he said.

“But they must be serious about developing their farmlands, and not just doing it just for a hobby,” he added.

The Brunei Times