The Borneo International Conference on Agrotechnology (BICAT) 2022 recently convened during the Economy Week of the Brunei Mid-Year Conference and Exhibition (MYCE) 2022, carrying the theme ‘Technology for Agriculture 4.0’.
The one-day event was co-organised by Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) under the School of Applied Sciences and Mathematics (SASM), Centre for Research on Agri-Food Science and Technology (CrAFT) and Centre for Innovative Engineering (CIE).
The conference aimed to provide a platform for discussion of issues and opportunities in current and future technologies such as sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture, in providing food, security for growing population as well as employment opportunity and economic growth, in meeting the strategies set for ‘Wawasan Brunei 2035’.
In her welcoming remarks, Vice-Chancellor of UTB Professor Dr Hajah Zohrah Haji Sulaiman said that the conference will serve as an avenue to establish net-working and collaboration with interested agrotechnology sectors, which will present an opportunity for discussion among the paper presenters, researchers, participants and stakeholders.
“The main outcome can be a strategic plan for collaborative R&D, student training in the agriculture sector and stakeholder engagement,” she said.
On his part, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism YB Dato Seri Paduka Dr Haji Abdul Manaf Haji Metussin also shared that with the current advancement in technology innovation, agrotechnology has played a very important role in the development of the agricultural industry.
The use of technology brings many benefits to the agricultural industry such as in increasing productivity and output, ensuring agriculture is more sustainable, profitable, efficient, safe and environmentally friendly as well as providing food security for the growing population.
“The importance of technology has been well acknowledged and recognised by the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism since its early establishment, as per embedded in the vision and mission statement of the Ministry’s Strategic Plan,” said the minister.
The first plenary session of the conference was presented by Professor Hidetoshi Nishimura, President of the Economic, titled ‘Digital Pathways for Improving Productivity, Profitability, and Sustainability of Agrifood Systems’.
Followed by the second plenary session, delivered by Professor Heather Bruce, Chair, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Canada, titled ‘Enhanced food security through controlled environment agriculture’.
Continuing the event, a live virtual tour of the project site was led by Ikeya Iwao, Director, Asia and Pacific Division, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan for a session on Digital Agriculture Eco Nursery Project between Brunei and Japan.
The third keynote speaker presented at the last plenary session of the conference with the title ‘Digital agri-technologies for forage improvement in New Zealand’ and was delivered by Dr. Kioumars Ghamkhar, Director of Margot Forde Forage Germplasm Centre, New Zealand.
The event then followed by 21 paper presentations from the conference participants and sessions chaired by Dr. Lim Tiong Hoo, Assistant Professor of Faculty of Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Dr. Wida Susanty Haji Suhaili, Assistant Professor, School of Computing and Informatics and Dr. Aida Maryam Haji Basri, Lecturer, School of Applied Sciences and Mathematics.
Ending the event, the Best Paper Awards were announced and a closing speech by Professor Dr. Beston Nore, Chair of the Organising Committee, BICAT 2022 was delivered towards the end of the event.
Agriculture and farming in general have been historically the main core labour that drive the global economy. Through modern agrotechnology farming, the sustainable food production goals can be achieved.
“A lot of research has been conducted over the years to explore the modernisation of farming and food processing industries. Research innovations have been applied in improving farming in cold, hot, dry, and wet landscapes, providing food production diversity, security, quality and efficient resources utilisation among many other areas,” said Professor Dr. Beston Nore.
The Chair of the Organising Committee has shared that through the conference, the participants had the opportunity to add more knowledge on the use of technologies applied to Brunei, followed by aquaculture and agriculture waste management as well as the presentation of research data on application of various strategies.
BICAT 2022 was the first conference in agrotechnology organised by UTB under MYCE and it created a stage for exchanging technology developments in agriculture.
This article was first published on 09 July 2022 in our Weekly Epaper issue 201 | More stories here
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN