His Majesty The Sultan of Brunei Darussalam in his opening titah yesterday at the start of the LegCo session stressed on the importance of agricultural growth which can help raise living standard and the vision to achieve zero poverty rate through the Vision Brunei 2035. (I sound like that RTB reporter)
Read a report from The Brunei Times on this here.
According to the Commonwealth Secretariat, Brunei’s GDP composition by sector shows that agriculture accounts only 0.9%. 71.6% comes from the industry sector and 27.5% from the services sector.
What does that figure tell us? Agriculture is unattractive? That’s what I think when in fact it should not be. I remember one forward-thinking senior Government servant who told me that he would like to see Bruneians to be involved in business in a professional way. Not your usual image of farmers with big straw-hats and loose shirt and a sarong. He was actually talking about farmers with qualifications and vast knowledge in the latest technology; and very much involve in the research and development.
Of course Brunei has the Sinaut Agricultural Training Centre which was later re-named as Resource Centre in Sinaut but what happened to its graduates now? I thought they would have been Brunei’s own professional farmers now. No? Maybe the centre has change its objectives and vision as I can see from its website here.
I just thought that there should be more ‘agricultural’ students like what we are seeing at the moment where there is an increase of nursing students. Just sad to hear that some of these students are currently unemployed but that’s another story.
Schools should attract more students (just like the Nursing College) and make their courses ‘attractive’ by providing an incentives like a plot of land for the students to cultivate, of course using the latest technology and not by their bare hands.
Anyway, going back to poverty, I stumbled across this article here where Brunei’s Deputy Minister of Industry and Primary Resources has said that tourism is a key to reducing poverty. I agree. Its just one way of reducing poverty and its not surprising that the poor in Brunei would be those coming from the rural parts who are illiterate and I don’t think that they are that many as compared to the whole population. [Literacy rate in Brunei has reached over 90%]
The Brunei Government’s department in charge of the community welfare is JAPEM (Jabatan Pembangunan Masyarakat) or the Department of Community Development which comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture, Youth & Sports. Have a look at its website here.
I was actually looking for the number of the poor in that website but couldn’t find any. However, I found out from the Ministry of Religious Affairs that last year (2007) there were a total of 16,186 people from 3,747 families who were classified as the poor in Brunei.
I pray that Brunei would never see this happen in the Abode of Peace, amin