BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei: China is expected to help farmers in Brunei - which strives to secure food security - grow paddy, a Chinese official said.
A firm in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region was in talks with Brunei China Friendship Association to develop the farmland in Brunei, Huang Yongqiang, secretary-general of China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit's secretariat, told China Daily on Aug 5.
Huang was in Brunei to invite business leaders to the summit, scheduled from Oct 20-21 in Nanning, capital of Guangxi.
Huang didn't name the company, but said it was affiliated to Guangxi's department of agriculture. He didn't reveal more details and the department of agriculture declined to comment.
The Brunei government may earmark 800 hectares of farmland to Brunei China Friendship Association, a local organization, Huang said after meeting with the association's leaders. But the association didn't confirm.
The Southeast Asian nation has been encouraging farmers to grow paddy to feed its population of 390,000.
The Sultan of Brunei reaped the first stalks of homegrown paddy on Aug 3 to show his support for local production.
Only 3 percent of the rice consumption comes within Brunei. The oil-rich country aims to raise the percentage to 20 percent in 2010 and 60 percent in 2015.
As an agricultural powerhouse, Guangxi can be a good partner, Huang said. "Its hybrid paddy boasts a high yield," he said.
A Brunei delegation including government officials, business leaders and farmers visited Guangxi in May, when Guangxi and Brunei signed a memorandum on agricultural cooperation.