His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam consented to officiate the opening ceremony for Phase One of the 500-Hectare Commercial Paddy Plantation Project at the Kandol Agricultural Development Area in Belait District yesterday.
Accompanying His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen.
Upon arrival, His Majesty and Their Royal Highnesses were welcomed by Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah, and Minister of Development Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar as the Chairman of the executive committee of the opening of the 500-Hectare Commercial Paddy Plantation Project.
His Majesty and Their Royal Highnesses were also greeted by Deputy Minister of Development and Chairman of the Technical and Infrastructure Committee for the project Dato Seri Paduka Haji Marzuke bin Haji Mohsin; as well as Legislative Council members, mukim penghulus and village heads in the Belait District.
Foreign representatives to Brunei Darussalam, permanent secretaries and deputy permanent secretaries, senior government officials, Darussalam Assets Sdn Bhd officers, farmers and residents from the surrounding areas also attended.
Shortly after arrival, His Majesty was briefed on the 500-Hectare Commercial Paddy Plantation Project progress by Head of Paddy and Crop Protection Division at the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood Khairunissa binti Haji Omar Ali.
His Majesty also listened to a briefing on the construction of Infrastructure Project for the Kandol Agricultural Development Area by Acting Director of the Public Works Department Alice Lim Sui Kau.
Later, Rice Operation Manager of PaddyCo Sdn Bhd Fuziah binti Haji Hamdan briefed His Majesty on the implementation of planting operations in the Kandol Agricultural Development Area.
ABOVE & BELOW: His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen at the ceremony
To bless the event, a recitation of Surah Al-Fatihah and Doa Selamat was read by State Mufti Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned.
Shortly after, His Majesty delivered a titah to officiate the start of the operations at the paddy plantation. The monarch was then invited to board the Paddy Transporter to plant some of the Sembada 188 paddy seedlings at the plantation.
His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen also joined in the planting of the paddy seedlings.
The paddy planting was accompanied with a Tausyeh, performed by 20 students of Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali and Religious Teachers University College of Seri Begawan.
His Majesty and Their Royal Highnesses consented to a group photo to commemorate the event.
His Majesty and Their Royal Highnesses later visited booths showcasing various agriculture efforts by local companies as well as Belia Berpadi Project, which are based in the Belait District.
The exhibition also showcased products made by the residents of Mukim Bukit Sawat, Mukim Labi, Mukim Sukang and Mukim Melilas.
The Phase One of the paddy plantation project covers 20 hectares of the area and is slated to be completed by the end of this year.
The other 480 hectares is projected to be completed by 2021, undertaken by PaddyCo Sdn Bhd, a company under Darussalam Asset Sdn Bhd. The paddy plantation at the Kandol Agricultural Development Area is estimated to yield around 6,000 to 8,000 metric tonnes of rice at the beginning of 2025, which will help supply around 11-15 per cent of the nation’s need.
The project represents one of the many efforts made by His Majesty’s Government towards increasing the output and subsistence of rice supply in Brunei Darussalam in ensuring the sustainability of the country’s supply
of food. Later, His Majesty and Their Royal Highnesses also consented to visit Merangking Primary School and Bang Taong Longhouse in Mukim Sukang in the district.
Upon arrival, His Majesty and Their Royal Highnesses were welcomed by the school’s headmistress Alitta anak Abet.
His Majesty then toured the school’s Administration Department’s block, the school’s teacher’s room and the classrooms which was established in 1962.
His Majesty consented to meet the students before leaving for Kampong Merangking’s Multi-Purpose Hall to observe the facilities.
His Majesty and Their Royal Highnesses then visited the Bang Taong Longhouse in Mukim Sukang, home to more than 130 residents. His Majesty and Their Royal Highnesses were welcomed by Acting Village Head of Kampong Merangking, Raimey bin Abdullah and one of the residents of the Longhouse, Firdaus bin Abdullah Awak.