Three new startups have emerged from the first cohort of Shell LiveWIRE Brunei’s AgroBIZ Paddy Agropreneur Scheme, spearheaded by youths keen on developing the sultanate’s rice industry even further.
Out of the ten students who completed the 15-month programme, seven came out of the experience with business plans to begin their respective companies, namely rice production companies AgroZID and Golden Green as well as organic fertiliser manufacturer, Econic Farm.
Unlike the former two companies, Econic Farm will enter a joint venture with a local company in producing all-purpose organic fertiliser.
Representative Nur Miza Masturina Muhammad Zuhairi shared that the company will consist of two other participants from the Shell LiveWire AgroBIZ programme, adding that the decision to enter the area of fertiliser manufacturing was due to a difference in specialisation during the rice cultivation process.
Meanwhile, for the Director of Golden Green, Elimasmira Thomas the choice to go into agriculture and pesticide-free rice production was clear from the start, describing her background as coming from a family of farmers.
Golden Green however is a family business that she hopes to share with her father and sister, intending to make use of what she has learned through the Shell LiveWire AgroBIZ programme to make the venture thrive.
Both Golden Green and AgroZID have been granted a five-hectare piece of land each at Kg Batong courtesy of the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, and they are currently in the process of securing funds for capital through Shell LiveWIRE Brunei and Darussalam Enterprise.
Chief Operating Officer of AgroZID Muhd Azizan Ali Mohd Azlan shared that they are looking at least looking to secure about $75,000 worth of starting capital which will be used to fund at least the first two rice planting cycles, which takes about six months.
“Even though five hectares is quite small (in the context of rice production) it takes a lot to prepare the plantation because of course, we want to achieve the best conditions to achieve the best results,” he said.
When asked why he chose to enter the field, Muhd Azizan explained that although he began his agricultural journey with agrotechnology with a specialisation in aquaculture, he felt that the rice production industry held a lot of opportunities.
Along with his two other co-founders, Muhd Azizan expressed AgroZID’s commitment in wanting to make the business work, believing that the industry has the potential of providing Bruneians with more employment opportunities.
The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN