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Source: www.asiaecon.org |

PHILIPPINES GIVES RICE PRODUCTION HELP TO BRUNEI


The Philippines and Brunei Darussalam recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on agricultural assistance. Under the MoU, the Philippines agreed to send its agriculture technical experts to help Brunei improve its self-sufficiency in rice production.


The Philippines and Brunei Darussalam recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on agricultural assistance. Under the MoU, the Philippines agreed to send its agriculture technical experts to help Brunei improve its self-sufficiency in rice production.

“We agreed on an exchange programme for technological transfer on rice production to assist Brunei in increasing its rice production,” said Philippine Secretary of Agriculture, Arthur Cua Yap.

Possible areas of collaboration include research and development, the introduction of high yielding variety of rice, the introduction of high technology in rice planting, capacity building, and training for farmers and extension officers.

Officials from the Philippine delegation also described future possible follow-ups, including partnerships on ‘Halal’ certification and sales programs and sales of coconut/coir matting to help Brunei in its anti-soil erosion effort.

One does not usually think of agriculture or rice when talking about Brunei. It is more known for its crude oil  and natural gas production and export, which account for over half of gross domestic product and more than 90 percent of exports. According to the CIA World Factbook, only 4.5 percent of Brunei’s labor force is in the agricultural sector, compared to 63.1 percent who are in the industrial sector and 32.4 percent in the services sector. These figures make sense, especially considering that 381,000 people live in an area that is only 5,770 sq. km. Clearly, the country, while endowed with many other natural resources, does not have enough land to spare for agriculture.

In comparison, the Philippines has a larger agricultural industry. 35 percent of its labor force are in the agricultural industry, compared to 15 percent in the industrial sector and 50 percent in the services sector. Even though the country is not self-sufficient in its rice production – it is one of the world’s largest importers of rice – its vast experiences in agricultural innovation and the availability of large tracts of land for rice production and research make it an important player in the sector. In fact, the International Rice Research Institute, an organization that aims “to reduce poverty and hunger, improve the health of rice farmers and consumers, and ensure environmental sustainability through collaborative research, partnerships, and the strengthening of national agricultural research and extension systems”, is headquartered in the Philippines.
 
Self-sufficient rice production has been an ongoing goal for Brunei. In 1978, the government launched an experimental large scale mechanized rice planting project that covered an area of 400 hectares. Since then, the government made various efforts to encourage rice production and increase the yield per acre. These efforts include implementing research activities for rice development, helping paddy farmers by supplying modern paddy farming technology and strengthening collaboration with regional and international institutions to improve rice production. Only about 290 tonnes, or 1 percent of Brunei’s rice needs are produced locally from 613 hectares of rice fields scattered around the country. The rest are imported from various countries including Cambodia and Thailand. According to Brunei’s Department of Agriculture, the Belait District is currently the nation’s largest paddy producer, producing over 530 metric tonnes and accounting for 35 percent of input.
 
It is hoped that this most recent effort to improve Brunei’s rice self-sufficiency will help the country realize its goals of being 20 percent self-sufficient by 2010 and 60 percent self-sufficient by 2015.

Source: www.AsiaEcon.org
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Source: www.asiaecon.org |


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