MPRT looking to boost irrigation
THE Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) is looking for ways to improve the irrigation system for rice farms in the sultanate to boost domestic production, which in the long term will help reduce the country’s rice import, according to its minister.
In an interview at the official harvesting ceremony of Indonesian rice varieties at Wasan Padi Field yesterday, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Hj Apong said the Imang Dam in Mukim Pengkalan Batu which currently supplies water to all rice plantations in Brunei-Muara district needs to be developed in resolving irrigation problems faced by some padi farmers.
“Now with the expansion of padi farms in Panchor Murai, it is imperative that we improve on the current irrigation system,” he said, adding that this includes deepening the capacity of the dam and improvements of the water pump.
The Imang Dam is used to supply water for irrigation to all plantations in Wasan, Bebuloh, Panchor Murai, Batong, Junjongan and Limau Manis farm plantations.
Earlier in March this year, the ministry proposed a project to expand the dam’s capacity from 8.0 million cubic metres of water to 8.8 million cubic metres.
“InsyaAllah we will continue our efforts in getting the resources to achieve this…we hope to do it as soon as possible but this all depends on the financial resource,” he said.
The minister went on to say that the ministry will need to approach and convince relevant stakeholders in further improving the infrastructure of the irrigation system as it can significantly increase rice output in the sultanate.
“With the increase of our local rice production, this will then reduce our country’s rice import. So the saving cost from these imports can lessen the government’s burden and be put into use to further develop facilities for padi farming,” said YB Dato Hj Ali.
The sultanate recorded a 44 per cent increase in rice production last year with 1,983 metric tonnes of rice from 1,382 metric tonnes recorded in 2014, while 2013 saw 1,230 metric tonnes of rice output.
The Brunei Times