His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has called on for more efforts to strengthen self-sufficiency and survival via the agricultural sector.
The call was made in a titah during Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah’s (YSHHB’s) 16th Hari Raya celebration, which was held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) recently.
In the titah, the monarch noted that Brunei’s agricultural sector along with agrifood and fisheries have been giving an encouraging output from 1998 to 2017.
“These positive developments are a sign that there are vast opportunities to develop these sectors, especially with Brunei (being blessed) with geographical factors and lands that has yet to be explored,” he said.
“What remained is now are our efforts and commitments to develop these sectors.”
“I am happy to welcome the presence of farmers, businesses and youths who are involved in developing the agriculture – as they play an important role in developing the future of this sector,” he added.
The Sultan also expressed his delight over several initiatives including contract farming and business-matching, which has helped farmers to efficiently market their products to departmental stores.
“I greatly appreciate these cooperation, and I hope for more involvement from local markets, wholesalers, restaurants, hotels and catering businesses in support of our government,” he said.
Besides improving agricultural productivity and employing the use of latest technologies, His Majesty also stressed the importance of manpower and resources.
Towards this, he noted several efforts made by the government to embolden such segment, which also include a pilot programme that gives plots of lands to potential farmers.
“This project has given the people, especially youths and permanent residents, the opportunity to take up farming and livestock breeding activities,” he said.
“Within the two years of the pilot pogramme, a total of 46 companies have been offered lots, and 16 young entrepreneurs have stepped in to take the opportunities – congratulations to all of them,” he added.
Additionally, The Sultan also urged Bruneians to focus more on developing the country – and to develop them properly.
Accompanying His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik, Chairman of the Yayasan Committee of Governors; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah; and Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
After the celebration, His Majesty and other members of the royal family consented to visit the exhibition at ICC with the theme ‘Agricultural Sector: The Survivability of the Nation’ featuring businesses that are involved in agriculture, agrifood, fisheries and forestry.
Azrina Zin | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN