Unpredictable weather can greatly affect conventional farmers in Brunei, but not at IAM Food farm as they grow their crops in greenhouses.
“Technology is constantly changing and improving every aspect of farming, from precision planting to fertilizing,” said Farm Director Ellin Chong. “Sustainable farming means doing it efficiently, and new technology makes that happen.”
IAM Food farm grows its crops on a two-hectare farm using aquaponics, fertigation, outdoor and natural farming. While the implementation of agritech has helped lessen the risks modern farmer faces, it isn’t always easy, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Caterpillars, cheaper foreign produce, and high operating costs are some of the challenges that they faced.
The farm still operates following the Ministry of Health’s guidelines as its fully vaccinated workers are deemed essential. While the demand in Brunei has been growing steadily, the company is currently in the process of getting Brunei Good Agriculture Practices (Brunei GAP) certified. This allows them to export chilies and melons to other ASEAN member countries. They also plan to expand the farm’s size and production once the current operation is stable.
Even though farming can be difficult, Ellin said that for IAM Food, it is not about the immediate reward or satisfaction, but it is about the new generation benefitting from their efforts. “I hope that what we do will inspire others.” She added that consumers can help local farmers by buying local produce.
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