The first cohort of the Shell LiveWIRE Brunei’s AgroBIZ Paddy Agropreneur Scheme graduated on Wednesday, after successfully completing the 15-month programme that began in July of last year.
The milestone was commemorated in an event at The Garden’s Verandah which saw the ten students of the first Shell LiveWIRE AgroBIZ cohort being presented with their certificates by the guest of honour, the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism.
Shell LiveWIRE Brunei Chairperson and Brunei Shell Petroleum In-Country Value Manager Hjh Rosita Hj Hassan shared in her welcoming speech that trainees of the programme have been given practical training in rice cultivation for two consecutive planting seasons.
“They were going down to the farm early before sunrise and were home late in the afternoon in order to obtain the best quality harvest,” she said.
“This is the positive attribute of young trainees we encourage; to not only have the technical and commercial skills of agriculture but to also have high resilience and leadership to move forward,” she added.
Through the programme, students are also provided exposure to post-harvest activities such as processing, packaging and even marketing, to ensure AgroBIZ products are guaranteed in terms of quality, freshness and chemical-free (pesticide-free), she further explained.
According to Hjh Rosita, in light of the successes that have been achieved through the programme, such as being able to cultivate rice with better yield and quality, AgroBIZ has expanded its capacity in a number of different directions.
Aside from venturing into other cash crops through fertigation, AgroBIZ has also started collaborating with Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) in research efforts related to Agro-technology.
“More than 10 research projects have been identified, one of which has already started, namely Smart Watering Management system from UTB,” said the chairperson, adding that the projects are intended to address the issues faced by farmers such as threats from pest infestations.
AgroBIZ also plans to obtain Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) certification for paddy production from the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA) to ensure AgroBIZ maintains the best practices.
“In the future, AgroBIZ is also interested in achieving standards for organic and pesticide-free rice crop,” she went on to say.
“The recognition of GAP and having chemical-free crops will assure buyers of AgroBIZ products that AgroBIZ truly practices the standard in place, in line with its tagline ‘Our Commitment to People and Planet’,” she added.
The ceremony was officiated by the Primary Resources and Tourism Minister, Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Apong.
Special guests to the event include Deputy Minister of Education, Datin Seri Paduka Dr Hjh Romaizah Hj Mohd Salleh, as well as other senior government officials and representatives from Brunei Shell Petroleum.
The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN