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LegCo 2019: Ministries join hands to promote Young Farmers Programme


Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin. – PHOTOS: BAHIYAH BAKIR


BY Azlan Othman

GOVERNMENT ministries are playing their part in promoting and reviving the Young Farmers Programme which was highlighted on the 11th day of the 15th Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting on Saturday.

LegCo members approved a motion to revive the Young Farmers Programme which was conducted several years ago in Kampong Jerudong with new approaches not only in the Brunei-Muara District but also in the other three districts as suggested by member of LegCo Yang Berhormat Haji Mohimin bin Haji Johari @ Jahari.

In his motion to support the speech, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin said the ministry’s target for agriculture is youth, people facing hardship and those receiving a monthly assistance and their dependents with the aspiration to make agriculture a career, to become entrepreneurs and a source of extra income, thus contributing to the gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the agricultural sector.

The minister said his ministry and their strategic partners will continue to implement and enhance the youth agricultural programme in a more affordable way, participated by 32 youth and the Paddy Planting Programme through the Youth Development Programme and at the same time provide entrepreneurship grant including an independent programme and an empowerment assistance programme through the Community Development Programme.

Next week, four youth under the Youth Paddy Planting Programme will start paddy planting at the new site in Kampong Wasan in an area covering 8.5 hectares. “We also plan to provide hydroponic facilities in three strategic areas at the Youth Development Centre (PPB), Pusat Bahagia and Welfare Home Complex to equip youth in this field.”

Minister of Education Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman. – PHOTOS: BAHIYAH BAKIR

Minister of Education Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman said agricultural and basic programmes are offered by the Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) Agro-Technology Campus in Kampong Wasan.

Programmes offered are HNTec in Agro-Technology and NTec in Crop & Livestock Production, Food Processing, Aquaculture, and AgroTech Veterinian and Livestock. Recently, IBTE also offered a joint venture with LiveWire to implement an agrobase to revive the Young Farmers Programme with new approaches to produce agropreneurs who are trained in agrotechnology.

The project is hoped to contribute to the food security strategy to attain 35 per cent self-sufficiency in rice production by 2025. The agrobased project gives opportunities to young entrepreneurs’ comprising students from IBTE Agro-Tech Technology Campus. They have been identified to have the potential to expand and maintain their business in producing paddy and plants in the form of cash crops.

The project is also intended as a platform to guide agroprenuers to be developed in entrepreneurship to open opportunities to be suppliers of seed, manure, machinery and to be competitive and independent.

It is also hoped to develop agroprenuers to drive towards the paddy-driven industry such as production of paddy seeds, manure and pesticides distributor and maintenance of machine. It is also to nurture them in poultry farming.

In addition to the initiatives presented by the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, initiatives to promote youth involvement in agriculture are also led by other ministries, said Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong.

He said the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports introduced the Agriculture and Plantation Exposure Programme (Young Farmers) and the Paddy Planting programme for youth with cooperation between the PPB and the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood. So far, 36 youth are active in agriculture under the ministry’s initiative.

The Ministry of Education’s initiative is through IBTE Agro-Technology Campus (Wasan). The campus is responsible for taking over the role of Sinaut Agricultural Training Centre by offering courses on agriculture, livestock, fisheries, agribusiness and agricultural services, including classroom, practical and field training.

Currently, this campus trains 426 students in various courses. Since its inception in 2006, the campus has trained 1,248 students.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs, and the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB), through the Zakat (tithe) Recipients Enhancement Programme (PROPAZ), also channelled a portion of Zakat recipients to see agriculture as a field that can be used to increase the income of Zakat recipients.

For all the initiatives, the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism is a key partner to these ministries, especially in providing technical support services such as skills training, offering agricultural sites, and other technical advice and agricultural development.

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali also said the involvement of various parties (or the whole-of-nation approach) is appropriate to ensure that different youth needs are taken into account, especially in terms of how to lead, guide, provide assistance and teach them.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin


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