‘Natural methods best way to protect crops’

National 2 minutes, 39 seconds

TUTONG

FARMERS can better protect their crops by planting flowers around their farms, as this can help them better regulate the pest population, said an invited speaker at an event held yesterday in Kg Sinaut.

Nur Wahidah Hambali, manager of Malaysian firm Sri NF Services, said planting flowers can attract pests to settle in the flower plots and trigger a process in the natural food chain which may help curb their breeding.

“As these pests lay their eggs, there will also be certain insects that may consume these eggs, greatly reducing the number of pests that may come and attack the crops and effectively (crippling) them in the long run,” she said.

She said the method has been practised in countries such as Japan, where besides effectively curbing the pests, it also helps improve the landscape.

It is also one of the most natural and safe methods and could further ensure food security for the country as opposed to using pesticides, which may also affect the safety of the food for consumption.

With the flowers planted, she said there is also a strong possibility that pests would no longer attack the crops as they would only consume the nectar from the flowers.

She was delivering a lecture to farmers at the former Agricultural Training Centre in Kg Sinaut as part of an event held by Eco Nadi Agrobiz which was also attended by representatives of the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA).

Besides ensuring a farm’s sustainability, Nur Wahidah said the planting of flowers is also complementary to using natural substances as agents that could foster better growth of crops, replacing chemicals and pesticides.

For example, she said fish, vegetables and fruits can be fermented and mixed with water and microbes which are easily found in nature to be made into agents that can either be used as fertilizers or as preventive agents against remaining pests that may harm crops.

Addressing a question from one of the farmers, she said boiling turmeric or tobacco in water and spraying it on crops may also act as a repellant against pests, a method she had also learnt and practised on her own plantation in Malaysia.

Each of the natural substances has its own use, she said, and “I believe the DAA here will be helping farmers learn how to use (such methods and) only organic substances to grow their crops,” she added.

The goal of using such organic substances and methods is the more sustainable and safer growth of crops that have the best quality and are also safe for consumption.

In Malaysia, she said she had managed to raise a pesticide-free farm using only natural substances and ended up with better quality fruits.

She noted, however, that organic methods and substances may take a while to produce good results, “but it’s definitely good in the long run, as it really ensures the sustainability and health of the farms”.

She urged farmers in Brunei to be more proactive in seeking advice and consultation from the DAA before proceeding with any farming activities as the DAA knows best what kinds of methods can best be practised in Brunei’s climate.

The Brunei Times