‘Focus On Agriculture Advantage For Brunei’

By Ubaidillah Mash

of Industry and Primary Resources Pehin Dato Hj Yahya (R) and
Agriculture Department Acting-Director Hjh Normah Suria Hayati during a
bilateral meeting with Philippines Agriculture Secretary Arthur Cua Yap

Pictures: BT/Saifulizam

Bandar Seri Begawan – Brunei’s focus on agriculture will prove to be
an advantage once the global economic crisis recedes since agri-based
food products will dominate the market, the Agriculture Secretary of
Philippines said yesterday.

In a brief
interview with The Brunei Times, Arthur Cua Yap explained that the
crisis is expected to be over within a couple of years’ time and by
then, the deflationary impact on these goods will be lifted.

In this regard, he said that the Sultanate is currently “finding its place” in the global agricultural market.

“Brunei has
always been known for its oil and gas (and now) it has decided to take
a different path and focus on agriculture,” he said yesterday at the
Empire Hotel and Country Club.

Yap said that the Republic of the Philippines is

ready to
work with the country in its drive to develop its agricultural sector
for the purpose of improving its food security.

“Brunei and
the Philippines, traditionally, have very strong ties, since we share a
historical blood tie,” he said, adding that the two nations have
cooperated in various areas in the past and only recently, opened up
links in the agricultural sector.

He recalled
His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s visit
to the republic earlier this year in January, which was seen as a boost
to these long-standing relations.

the monarch’s visit, he said, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
instructed the Agriculture Secretary to offer the services of his
agency to Brunei.

He said that
he had visited the sultanate’s rice plantations in Kg Wasan about two
months ago, to get a better picture of Brunei progress in agriculture.

In their
cooperation in this sector, the Agriculture Secretary also noted that a
Bruneian delegation was also sent to the Philippines recently, where
their Filipino counterparts shared knowledge and advice.

They have also discussed water engineering processes with Brunei, Yap said.

“It takes
5,000 litres of water to produce one kilogramme of rice,” he said,
stressing the importance of having a proper method of irrigation in the
production of rice.

He also
shared that the countries were also exploring other areas of possible
cooperation, such as in food processing of seafood and poultry as well
as the development of halal products.

When asked
what he thought of Brunei’s initiative in its own halal brand, he
lauded the ambition and said that “Brunei is on the right track”.

Philippines Agriculture Secretary yesterday held a bilateral meeting
with the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Pehin Orang Kaya
Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Date Paduka Hj Bakar
at the hotel’s Business Centre.

The closed-door meeting aimed to discuss issues of bilateral relations, especially those concerning agriculture.

According to
statement from the ministry, the two parties discussed cooperation in
the area of food security as well as highlighting the implementation of
paddy cultivation projects. They also touched upon participation in the
Brunei Halal Brand project, the statement said.

Also in
attendance were Acting Director of Agriculture Hjh Normah Suria Hayati
Pehin Jawatan Dalam Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama (Dr) Hj Mohd Jamil
Al-Sufri and Virginia H Benavidez, Philippines ambassador to Brunei
Darussalam as well senior officers from the ministry and the Filipino
— Courtesy of The Brunei Times