HM leads drive towards achieving self-sufficiency in rice production
HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday officiated the renaming of the Brunei Darussalam Rice 1, which will now be referred as "Laila Rice" during the launch of the "Padi Planting Towards Achieving Self-Sufficiency of Rice Production in Brunei Darussalam" ceremony at the Wasan padi fields.
His Majesty, bare-handed, planted several rice seedlings, a move which was regarded by many as further evidence of the monarch's dedication and seriousness in His Majesty's vision of achieving food security for the nation through self-sufficiency.
The benevolent ruler was joined in the field by His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, His Royal Highness Prince Haji 'Abdul 'Azim and His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik.
The involvement of the monarch and the royal family in the field activities brought on jubilant cheers from those watching. They comprised Pengiran Pengiran Cheterias, cabinet ministers, officials from the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) and foreign delegates, who all sported denim attire, befitting the occasion.
Philippines' Agriculture Secretary Arthur Cua Yap who was alongside His Majesty, told The Brunei Times, "this shows how serious His Majesty is about the pursuit of food security for Brunei".
The renaming of the rice to "Laila", which means the foremost in every aspect, was inspired from an excerpt of His Majesty's titah.
Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar highlighted the approaches which will be taken during the preliminary stages of the initiative.
These include "developing basic infrastructure such as irrigation, water channels, roads and other public conveniences along with a more systematic farming system like simultaneous farming in multiple areas and to monitor diseases encountered by farmers".
He said that the project would bolster existing deep bilateral relations with the Philippines.
Following the minister's speech, His Majesty visited the preparation plot for seedlings where he and the Agriculture Secretary used a drum-seeder, a manual machine which reduces effort, time and costs of farmers to plant rice seeds.
While His Majesty was at the first stop, he viewed an exhibition of food safety, infrastructure preparation for the Wasan area and the activities of Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), which is assisting the Sultanate in the project.
His Majesty then visited other farm sites in Wasan to witness various methods of rice cultivation, for example, at the Koseka (Koperasi Setia Kawan) field, he operated a padi transplanter.
At the Kg Bebuloh padi field, His Majesty used a mist blower to spray seeds over an area.
His Majesty also launched the irrigation system at the Imang dam, the main reservoir providing water to Wasan. An irrigation plan for Bebuloh padi field was also announced, which is currently in the construction process and will be completed in 2012.
The entourage then moved to Brunei's Department of Agriculture's Research Centre and the Screen House where His Majesty saw PhilRice's experiments with 220 breeding lines of rice which are monitored closely to produce high quality yields.
His Majesty ended the visit at the Wasan Vocational School where he witnessed the school's agricultural project.
The public also managed to greet the benevolent monarch up close at the various sites during the visit. The Brunei Times
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
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