Local Agriculture Entrepreneurs in the spotlight at Expo

THE 2017 Agriculture and Agrifood mini expo, held in conjunction with the Golden Jubilee Celebration of 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’s Accession to the Throne, was officially launched yesterday.

The five-day expo is meant to promote investment opportunities in Brunei’s livestock and agriculture industry, and showcase the history and development of the country’s agriculture industry in the past 50 years.

Themed ‘Stimulating Productivity through Technology’, the expo sees participation by local agriculture entrepreneurs who are showcasing their products and technologies aimed to improve farming methods and annual crop yields.

One such participant was MADGrow Tech, a new local agrotech startup which combines traditional farming methods with information and communications technology (ICT) to help grow fresh vegetables at home with ease.

In an interview with the Bulletin, the company’s administration service manager, Nor Diyanah binti Haji Mohd Suhardi, and agricultural technologist, Mohd Omar bin Haji Ibrahim, said that MADGrow Tech was launched last July and makes use of FarmBot technology – a one-of-a-kind CNC (computer numerical control) farming machine from a California-based firm.

The firm provides all the necessary hardware, electronics, software and tools required to assemble the machine in Brunei, and have selected MADGrow Tech as the focal point for conducting of all FarmBot-related activities in the Southeast Asian region.

“Collaborating with the Agriculture and Agrifood Department of the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT), MADGrow is not just services provider, we are also experimenting with growing organic vegetables normally imported by our local supermarkets, including cold-season produce such as apples, berries and other herbs,” said Nor Diyanah.

“The collaboration is hoped to open a path towards upgrading the lifestyles of communities in Brunei Darussalam. The introduction of modern agricultural technology used in urban farming here today will hopefully trigger interest among new entrepreneurs to venture into farming and see it as a viable way to earn a living,” shared Mohd Omar. “Controlling and monitoring your crops with FarmBot is just a click away using your mobile phone, including seeding, watering as well as monitoring crop condition.”

Image and coverage courtesy of Borneo Bulletin