Agri dep’t to engage more companies in seed production
THE Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA) is looking to engage more private sector companies in seed production given the increase in demand for MRQ76 seeds.
The department’s head of Rice Research and Development Unit, Khairunnisa Hj Omar Ali said that the move to give the private sector the opportunity to produce seeds was intended to boost their involvement on top of further strengthening the nation’s domestic rice production.
Furthermore, she added that the private sector will be more efficient in their efforts towards seed production as they have access to more funds, manpower as well as agricultural technology.
“We (the DAA) will make sure that the seeds they (the private sector) produce will live up to the standards of being certified seeds (and) will always provide guidance if necessary,” she said.
“If the demand keeps on increasing, then the current seed production areas will not be enough so definitely we will appoint more private companies to operate more seed production areas,” she added.
Currently 27 hectares of land operated by three private companies is being used to produce certified seeds of modern rice varieties such as the MRQ 76, BDR 5 and Beras Laila to the DAA, she said pointing out that at present, there has been an increase of demand towards MRQ 76 seeds by padi farmers, which she attributed to the high yielding and disease tolerant nature of the rice variety.
Speaking to The Brunei Times, she said that previously, it was the responsibility of the department to produce seeds for padi farmers but now, a considerable amount of the responsibility is being taken by the private sector.
One of the companies, Syarikat Pakatan Mekar Hijau Sdn Bhd (SPMH) has produced their first yield of MRQ 76 seeds yesterday, which will have to be inspected by the DAA even further to ensure that they are ‘certified seeds’.
The two other seed production areas, which will produce Beras Laila and BDR 5 seeds will have their own harvest in three months time, she said, adding that these areas are presently at the planting stage.
The Brunei Times