Youth told to take up farming, help economy

National 2 minutes, 7 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

MORE youth are encouraged to take up farming to help boost local agricultural output and sustainability, said the Head of the Agricultural Extension Division at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT).

Hjh Suria Zanuddin said that increasing the number of local farmers is important, highlighting the need for youths to continue rice farming.

“We try to involve and recruit young farmers as most of our current farmers are now ageing,” she said in an interview at the sidelines of the certificate handing over ceremony for the Rice Farmer Field School (RFFS) participants yesterday.

Through farming, the senior agricultural officer believes youth will also be able to contribute towards diversifying the local economy, at the same time, help address future unemployment challenges.

“Farming can be a viable business... it can be very profitable,” she said.

According to Hjh Suria, MPRT has collaborated with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) for the Belia Berpadi programme to help provide the youth with proper training on rice farming.

In a separate interview, Sanah Hj Burut, the head of Agricultural Development in the Brunei-Muara district said the collaboration with MCYS is a good step to help the youth gain knowledge and skills.

She said rice farming is important in the sultanate as it is a daily consumed food. Therefore, she believes more farmers are needed to improve the country’s self food production.

Sanah said those interested in becoming rice farmers will be able to receive assistance from the ministry as they will be trained.

During the ceremony, 26 participants of the 22-day course received certificates which were handed over by the Acting Deputy Director of Agriculture and Agrifood Hjh Khartini Hj Musa.

Throughout the course, participants attended various lectures and practical activities which were aimed to provide them the understanding, skills and experience to become padi farmers.

The lectures and activities include seed quality, provision of farm, the establishment of planting, nutrient management and management of disease amongst others.

Since the launch of the first course in 2010, the school has received and trained 120 rice farmers in the Brunei-Muara, 53 farmers in Tutong, 74 farmers in Belait and 43 farmers in Temburong.

Sanah said the newly certified farmers could be key in assisting to boost local food production.

“It is hoped that they will help and contribute to increase Brunei’s rice production,” she said.

She advised farmers to continue to improve their food production by continuing to work hard and manage their farm. “They have to be committed because it will increase production,” she said.

The Brunei Times