Increasing paddy production and gearing towards self-sufficiency in rice production are important goals for the agriculture and Agrifood sector in the Sultanate.

Climate change and soil acidity in the country remain hurdles. Development and deploying technology can be used to overcome hurdles and move the nation towards these goals. These are the fervent belief of Dr. Wida Susanty, Assistant Professor of the School of Computing and Informatics (SCI) at Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) as she seeks to leverage her expertise in computing and internet of Things, honed from her studies at the universities of Strathclyde and Edinburgh, to develop solutions to improve the irrigational aspects in paddy plantation.

Dr. Wida Susanty has been named as one of the 17 ASEAN Scientists and the only representative from Brunei to be selected for the prestigious 2019/20 ASEAN Science and Technology Fellowship by the ASEAN Foundation with support from ASEAN, the U.S. Government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Mission to ASEAN. These fellows were selected for their track record of achievements and potential to advance evidence-based policy-making in ASEAN. She has been active in SMART research projects under ASEAN-IVO with the theme SMART Environment, Smart Agriculture and Smart Disaster Management. She is also a thrust leader for the Digital and Creativity research thrust at UTB.

According to Dr. Wida, she would like to assist Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA) to formulate guidelines and understanding on how rice/paddy plantation will work better in a controlled water irrigation system and to collaborate with the DAA in creating awareness for the communities if the country decides to embark on such solution especially on the use of Science, Technology and Innovation in the improvement of irrigation in paddy plantation in Brunei.

The fellows commenced their one-year journey by attending orientation, participation to the ASEAN Senior Official Meeting and Capacity Development Workshop from 23-30 June 2019 held in Bali, Indonesia.

The ASEAN S&T Fellowship is a partnership programme between the ASEAN Foundation, ASEAN and USAID that provides opportunities for early- and mid-career scientists from ASEAN Member States to apply their knowledge and analytical skills to solving public policy challenges.

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