The construction of a permanent ground water well at the Sengkuang Lot Agriculture Development Area in Mukim Labi, Belait District will help farmers involved to plant paddy biannually compared to the current once-a-year planting. According to the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, through the construction of the water well, farmers will be able to enhance a high paddy yield without being dependant on rain water. Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong in an interview with RTB, during the ceremony for the construction of the permanent groundwater well at the Sengkuang Lot Agriculture Development Area in Mukim Labi, Belait District also explained that the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism hopes to increase paddy production apart from increasing fruits and vegetables production in the country.
Yang Berhormat said the country is fortunate as there is now a company that has the capability to obtain groundwater. As water is vital in paddy planting, the challenge is to obtain a large amount of water consistently to ensure a good growth. A groundwater source has been found in Kampong Labi at a depth of 80 metres, which will then be distributed to the paddy farmers in the village. This will then allow the farmers to plant paddy twice a year compared to the current practise of planting paddy once a year as the farmers will no longer be dependent on rain water or seasonal rains. This will in turn allow the farmers to plant paddy with higher yields.
The briefing on use of water resource from the will was delivered by Awang Saidin Bin Namit, Senior Special Duties Officer at the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood. The implementation of the well is from the groundwater exploration project by the ministry through the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood and Preston Geochem Sendiran Berhad. The exploration works which began on the 2nd of June was completed fully on the 14th of September. The irrigation source is hoped to increase production of a higher yield paddy variety as well as twice a year planting. Among those present were Yang Berhormat Awang Hanapi bin Mohd Siput, member of the Legislative Council; Dayang Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abdul Wahab, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry and Awang Ramlee bin Haji Jamudin, Belait District Officer.
The Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism as well as the delegation also took part in the paddy threshing activity, which is a continuation of the paddy planting during the working visit by the Minister last July. KKP Lot Sengkuang is one of the main paddy planting areas in the country with 45 hectares of land and an additional 255 hectare area making it a total of 300 hectares. The government will continue to enhance agriculture activities in particular paddy planting at the area towards upholding the ministry's vision and mission in increasing the paddy production to enhance self-sufficiency.