His Majesty graces harvesting of 'Padi Laila'
By Azlan Othman

Three months after the 'Padi Laila' planting drive towards self-sufficiency in national rice production was made in Wasan for the national food security, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei took to the field once again yesterday to harvest the paddy.

His Majesty had planted padi seedlings, which officially kick-started the nation's drive to secure its future food requirements in a demonstration of the country's resolute determination to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production.

His Majesty and other members of the royal family harvested the paddy using the traditional method and also observed the 'Laila' rice food dishes exhibition, Wasan Vocational School exhibition and Philrice exhibition from the Philippines.

In the Brunei-Philippines rice R& D technical cooperation project highlighted in the Philrice exhibition, the goal is to build the capacity of the Brunei government to attain self-sufficiency in rice production.

The objectives were to showcase the Philippines rice technologies through field demonstration in Wasan by testing the suitability of seven Philippine rice varieties, screen and evaluate 220 rice lines under Brunei's conditions for high yield, resistance to pests and diseases as well as good eating quality, test and demonstrate rice machinery appropriate for Brunei farming conditions, to enhance the capability of Brunei agriculture extensionists, researchers and farmers on rice technologies and to provide technical assistance on the rice R&D through dispatch of Philippine rice experts.

The monarch also witnessed threshing, drying and milling demonstrations using the thresher, flatbed dryer and portable rice miller machines. His Majesty also harvested the paddy using a combine harvester machine and later proceeded to the main tower to view the KOSEKA farmers harvesting the paddy.

His Majesty also witnessed the performances, which combined poetry vocalisation, traditional singing, dancing, acting and musical blend by youths and villagers in a beautifully crafted paddy planting scene.

The performance also highlighted the paddy planting activities relating to harvesting and the traditional 'Makan Tahun' by the Brunei Malay ethnic communities. - Borneo Bulletin (4th August 2009)