Crown Prince visits farming projects
By Sonia K.

His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office yesterday made a working visit to the padi farming area in Kampong Wasan and other farming projects around the area under the care of the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources.

Greeting His Royal Highness the Crown Prince upon arrival at the Agriculture Department Office in Wasan were the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar; Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister's Office Dato Seri Paduka Eusoff Agaki; Deputy Minister of MIPR Dato Paduka Awang Haji Hamdillah bin Haji Abd Wahab; Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister's Office Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Abu Bakar bin Pengiran Seri Indera Pengiran Haji Ismail; Permanent Secretary of MIPR Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Hamid bin Haji Mohd Jaafar and Deputy Permanent Secretary of MIPR Pengiran Hajah Mariana binti Pengiran Dipa Negara Laila Diraja Pengiran Haji Abd Momin.

Also present to welcome HRH were the Brunei-Muara District Officer Dato Paduka Awang Haji Yussop bin Bakar; Penghulu of Mukim Pengkalan Batu Awang Haji Tahir bin Haji Tarip; Acting Agriculture Director and senior officers at the Agriculture Department, as well as those managing the fields.

At the venue, the Acting Director of Agriculture Dayang Hajah Normah Suria Hayati binti Pehin Jawatan Dalam Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama (Dr) Haji Awang Mohd Jamil Al-Sufri briefed the Crown Prince on the padi farming projects.

After the briefing, HRH continued with his working visit to the rice plantation fields in Wasan that is run by local entrepreneurs.

The Wasan field is known as an agricultural land with an area of 312.1ha. About 230ha of the land have been turned into padi field. The field was operated under the Government Padi Project in 1978.

The field opened again in 2006 and is run by the Mukim Pengkalan Batu Consultative Council and Koperasi Setia Kawan.

HRH visited the padi field operated by Koperasi Setia Kawan (KOSEKA) with an area of 139.8ha. Currently, there are 120 farmers working on that field. Under this project, during the 2007/2008 season, 128 tonnes of padi were produced from this field.

Meanwhile, an area of 50.6ha of padi field is under the Mukim Pengkalan Batu Consultative Council operation headed by Haji Ahmad bin Haji Momin. The field has 61 farmers and last season, they produced 64.7 metric tonnes of padi.

The Crown Prince then proceeded to visit the Bebuloh Padi Field located at Kampong Bebuloh in Mukim Pengkalan Batu. The area was opened to the residents of the village in 2002 with 80ha of the land for agriculture use.

The field, headed by Jampi bin Amir, has 84 farmers and the types of padi grown are Pusu, Bario and Adan. Last season, about 115.5 tonnes of padi were produced.

After the visit, His Royal Highness visited the Imang Reservoir before heading to perform the Zuhur prayers at the Limau Manis Mosque.

Construction of the reservoir was completed in 1997, while the pipelines to transport water from the reservoir to the Wasan Padi Field were laid in November 2007. Besides transporting water to the Wasan Padi Field, it also transports to the agriculture field in Betumpu.

Plans have been made to continue constructing the pipes to business lots in the Wasan Padi Field as well as to build a big pipe as long as 4.5km that leads to the Bebuloh Padi Field.

The constructions are expected to be completed by 2012.

The Crown Prince's working visit ended at the Mukim Pengkalan Batu Community Hall at the Taman Mini Perayaan Kanpong Parit for an afternoon banquet with senior officers and staff of the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources and departments under it, as well as agricultural entrepreneurs. - Borneo Bulletin (3rd Dec 2008)