Fifteen new students from the Insititute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) Agro-technology Campus were inducted into the LiveWIRE AgroBIZ project, a semi-government scheme that aims to produce skilled agropreneurs that can strengthen the nation’s agriculture and food security.
Welcomed in as the second batch of the LiveWIRE AgroBIZ project, the new group of students was officially inducted in a signing ceremony that took place at the multi-purpose hall of IBTE Agro-Technology Campus in Kg Wasan.
According to a press statement, the 15 students that will be enrolled in the project will be developing 10 hectares of paddy fields, planting high-yield rice varieties and utilising modern machinery which will ensure that production is more efficient.
All students are under the HNTec Agrotechnology programme of IBTE Agro-technology Campus’ School of Agro-technology and Applied Sciences who selected Rice Industry as their specialisation.
Students in this programme will also be equipped with entrepreneurial skills by attending various LiveWIRE training programmes, such as the LiveWIRE Bright Ideas workshop, followed by a three-day Leadership Camp programme in Temburong.
Furthermore, students will have access to the best infrastructure and facilities including the use of drones, organic, eco-friendly materials, vertical rice dryers as well as being provided with the best technical and commercial training conducted by local and international experts.
After training is completed, students who meet the relevant criteria are then encouraged to apply for the LiveWIRE Brunei Business Start-up Funding Scheme (BASfs) for funds to start their businesses.
Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) In-Country Value Manager and Chairman of LiveWIRE Brunei Hjh Rosita Hj Hassan said in a speech that BSP had spent more than $3 million to ensure that students are provided with the necessary infrastructure and facilities for their success.
“In last February, the AgroBIZ project’s first harvest averaged at seven metric tonnes per hectare. The highest output recorded, however, was on the first day of the harvest, with 8.3 metric tonnes per hectare, an encouraging figure that can hopefully be improved in the future,” she said.
IBTE Chief Executive Officer Dr Hj Zamri Hj Sabli highlighted the importance of the AgroBIZ project in its role towards strengthening the country’s rice output ensuring food security, noting how the coronavirus’ “alarming effect” towards the world’s agrifood supply and trade.
“We should open our eyes towards the importance of agriculture, especially in terms of domestic agrifood and rice production which is of great significance during these pandemic times,” he said in his speech.
With rice being both a staple and a commodity, he added, preparedness in ensuring agrifood products like rice are readily available to the public is of vital.
The LiveWIRE AgroBIZ scheme is a collaborative project between LiveWIRE Brunei and the government of Brunei Darussalam.
BSP through LiveWIRE Brunei, its entrepreneurship arm and Social Investment Flagship programme, allocated funds to support the AgroBIZ Padi Agropreneur Scheme under IBTE in an effort to develop an ecosystem where local agropreneurs can grow and sustain their businesses.
Also present during the event was LiveWIRE Programme Director, Pg Redzuan Pg Hj Abbas.
The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN