BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Only four percent of Brunei’s agripreneurs are women, representing just 217 out of the 5,545, said vice-chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) on Thursday.

Professor Dr Hjh Zohrah Hj Sulaiman said the highest number of female agriprenuers are in Tutong with 114, followed by Brunei-Muara (88), Temburong (8) and and Belait (7).

Out of the 5,545 entrepreneurs, a total of 65.9 percent are engaged in crop cultivation, 12.4 percent are in livestock, 11.5 percent in ornamental crops and 0.46 per cent in other commodities.

The statistics was part of Dr Hjh Zohrah’s talk on the third and final day of Knowledge Convention 2018 at the International Convention Centre in Berakas. The talk, which focuses on the role of women in the nation’s agricultural sector, was attended by HRH Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah.

HRH Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah (C) attends the final day of Knowledge Convention 2018 held at the ICC on Nov 29. Photo: Infofoto

Commenting on the fact that agriculture is still a predominantly male-led sector, Dr Hjh Zohrah said the goal of her presentation was to change the perceptions of the audience and potential job seekers on agriculture as a career choice or a source of income.

Women produce over 50 percent of the world’s food and represented 43 percent of the labour force in agriculture, she said. The vice-chancellor added that in ASEAN, women in Thailand and the Philippines play an active role in agriculture compared to their other ASEAN counterparts.

The Department of Agriculture and Agrifood will focus on implementing key agricultural strategies and incentives to attract new entrepreneurs, including women, to engage in the sector, said Dr Hjh Zohrah.

The incentives include offering farm plots for new farmers, providing more land to existing farmers, and offering technical advice in new farming techniques.

Speaking on the role of UTB in supporting the development of Brunei’s agriculture sector, the vice-chancellor said the university’s new Centre for Research on Agrifood Science and Technology (CrAFT) would help boost the industry by providing much-needed human capital, as well as research into creating new food products for domestic and global markets.