Saturday, February 25, 2012

Agri-tourism to bear fruit in Brunei

By Azlan Othman

The large-scale planting of longan fruit trees on agricultural land in Brunei Darussalam has the potential to promote agri-tourism like what other countries in the region, such as Malaysia and the Philippines, have been able to achieve.

This observation was made by Awang Hj Jamain bin Hj Momin, the Brunei-Muara District Officer, during the launching of Kg Lugu and Kg Katimahar Consultative Councils' longan and mangosteen fruit tree-planting yesterday.

'Timbunan Rindu' farmers from both villages were also on hand to help out.

The fruit trees were first planted on a 10-acre site two years ago with a workforce of 15 people. The workforce has grown to 50 and the target now is to plant even more fruit trees on a 100-acre site.

Such an initiative is commendable, as it shows what other Village Consultative Councils can do with vast plots of land, said Awang Hj Jamain.

"We will give our utmost support to (help further) develop the farm," he said, noting that the Brunei-Muara District Office along with the Village Counsultative Councils of Kg Belimbing Subok, Kg Jerudong and other villages are in the midst of implanting various projects to promote agri-tourism.

Brunei first imported longan fruits from Thailand in the 1980s. It was only in recent years that villagers in the Sultanate began to plant these fruit trees.

The large-scale planting of fruit trees is a wise move made by the Village Consultative Council in diversifying the economy, whilst reducing the import of such fruits, the Brunei-Muara District Officer said.

Awang Hj Jamain went on to say that the Brunei-Muara District Office would help promote and market these fruits through the annual 'Fruit Fiesta'.

The chairperson of the farm, Hj Zainal bin Hj Safar, meanwhile, said that the farming project could provide employment opportunities for youths, as well as senior citizens.

Besides promoting agri-tourism, such sites could be turned into a fruit research centre that could look into preserving fruit plants that are nearing extinction such as 'Buah Menungan', 'Buah Rancah-Rancah', 'Buah Sigir' and so on.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend

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