The word 'Titih' signifies the strong spirit and self-esteem of the Bruneian community that works hard when it focuses on something and this word has been selected as the official name for Brunei's first hybrid rice.
The launching of the new name for the first hybrid rice took place yesterday at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) and was officiated by the minister, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar.
Present at the launching were Singapore High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Joseph Koh; Permanent Secretary at the MIPR Hjh Normah Suria Hayati PJDSMDSU (Dr) Hj Awg Mohd Jamil Al-Sufri and Deputy Permanent Secretary (Industry and Entrepreneurship Development) Awg Mohd Riza Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunus.
The minister in his speech said the hybrid rice project is seen as a new technology that has been introduced in the country's rice plantation and is one of the ministry's strategies through the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood to increase the nation's rice production.
Studies on the hybrid rice began in 2009 and were focussed more on identifying varieties suitable for consumption in the country, which included the suitability of the variety and its adaptability in terms of climate and weather, its endurance against diseases as well as consumers' acceptance of its taste.
After identifying the suitable hybrid rice variety to be planted here, the ministry has planned to have it planted on a large scale as an alternative to other types of rice including Laila and traditional rice.
Titih's maturity period is 115 days.
Following the launch, the minister also presented the cash prize of $1,000 to the winner of the competition, a student from RIPAS Secondary School, Abang Hariz Abang Hadzman.
The judges of the competition see 'Titih' as an attitude that should stand out and introduced to the young generation so as to make them understand and take the best lesson from the determination of the Bruneian senior citizens who are always active, determined and patient in whatever they do to earn a living.
Organised by the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood, the competition was carried out to find and choose suitable names for the hybrid rice variety SAT-11 based on history, background and relevance.
The judging of the winning name was made by a panel of judges from the History Centre, State Mufti's Office, Language and Literature Bureau and Department of Agriculture and Agrifood.
Meanwhile, Mr Koh suggested three options to increase domestic rice production as he spoke to the media. The first is to award a contract to a foreign team to plant hybrid rice in Brunei and to buy it from them.
The second is to buy seeds from a foreign source each season and grow the rice as it will be more local value-added and thirdly to develop the seeds, develop new varieties, own the intellectual property rights and become totally independent.
The five contracts signed yesterday represent a total package of technology transfer so that Brunei can learn how to make and operate that "miracle net", he said, adding that it is not an ordinary commercial deal to purchase seeds as it is an investment in capacity building.
The Department of Agriculture and Agrifood and Sunland have planted the "Seeds of New Tomorrow" and these seeds will blossom with a new crop of Bruneian farmers who will master the techniques of scientific farming, more than triple their normal output and help Brunei to move closer to its goal of self-sufficiency in rice production.
The significance of the contract, according to Mr Koh, is a living proof of the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood's commitment to raise the productivity of Bruneian farmers and the level of agricultural technology in Brunei and it is definitely good for Brunei since it would ensure a quantum leap in the country's goal towards increasing domestic rice production.
"I want to thank the DOAA and MIPR for giving Sunland this opportunity to prove that 'Singapore pun Boleh'. As the High Commissioner, I am extremely pleased as this arrangement represents a new pillar in the cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries," he added.