• Sunday, March 28, 2010

HM inaugurates Laila harvest

Laila's promise: His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam holding the harvested Laila padi in the air while, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar (Left, behind HM) and other officials look on. Picture: BT/Zamri Zainal

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Major step forward in Brunei's march towards achieving food security

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday inaugurated the first harvest of Brunei's new Laila padi, a move which could signify a turning point in the country's march towards self-sufficiency. This was a goal envisioned nearly half a century ago.

His Majesty, along with His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji 'Abdul 'Azim; His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik and His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Mateen visited the Wasan padi fields to lead the harvest.

Equipped with traditional harvesting tools, His Majesty and the Royal Family reaped the first few padi stalks, which were planted about three months ago. In a show of triumph against the odds and after years of multiple attempts to boost local rice production, His Majesty symbolically held the padi in the air, amid loud cheers from a large crowd who turned up to witness the historic event.

"Alhamdulillah, now we have successfully planted and successfully harvested the Laila Rice," said Agriculture Acting Director Hjh Normah Suria Hayati PJDSM DSU (Dr) Hj Mohd Jamil Al-Sufri. "Today shows that Laila can be planted in Brunei."

She added that as the country progresses further and develops its rice production methods, they will continue to learn and refine the padi farming system from time to time.

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Hamid Hj Mohd Jaafar said that achieving success in the drive towards self-sufficiency is possible, especially since there is strong support from the government.

Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar told The Brunei Times the next step would be to progress at the district-level.

"We can do it, even in the face of all the challenges," he said. "The country can do it".

Apart from the harvesting activity, His Majesty also viewed an exhibition showcasing Laila rice, Wasan Vocational School and Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).

The monarch was also shown a demonstration of the operations of various machinery used in processing the padi, including the thresher, flat-bed dryer and portable rice mill.

His Majesty also experienced operating a combine harvester, the modern approach to padi harvesting. Following a round on the harvesting machinery, His Majesty proceeded to the main tower to witness members of Koperasi Setia Kawan Bhd (KOSEKA) harvesting their crops.

The monarch and the Royal Family were then treated to a cultural performance, which revolved around the theme of padi planting and harvesting. Brunei has set its targets to increase self-sufficiency through rice production from the current 3.12 per cent to 20 and 60 per cent by 2010 and 2015 respectively.The Brunei Times

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