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Brunei to Double Halal Production for Export Market

by 5m Editor
28 October 2009, at 8:00am

BRUNEI DARUSSALAM - The Agriculture Department has announced plans to raise production and exports of halal products to Singapore. Although free of avian flu, Brunei producers will need to raise biosecurity before Singapore will accept its products.

Brunei's Agriculture Department is positive domestic poultry producers will be able to ship their goods to Singapore next year, hopefully under the Sultanate's Brunei Halal brand, according to Asia One.

This will involve the doubling of current poultry production in the country, which already enjoys 100 per cent self-sufficiency in poultry, Dr Dabeding Hj Dullah, assistant director of the department, said in an interview with The Brunei Times.

Representatives from the department, he said, have been negotiating with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore, which enforces regulations governing shipments of meat products entering the city-state.

"We are negotiating with them especially about what their requirements are. One that they mentioned is the availability of relevant legislation or Acts [relating to] controls over production of poultry and national disease control programme," Dr Dabeding said.

The department is working with relevant organisations for the draft of the legislation which is already in its final stage, he added.

"Singapore would also like to see our biosecurity measure improve, we are currently trying to engage a consultant to help us upgrade on that aspect, which concerns disease control and so on," he said.

Dr Dabeding said the department has already engaged a consultant to look into pricing of local products and the logistics of exporting to Singapore.

"The consultant is already working on it and is already negotiating with a potential importer in Singapore," he said.

The export volume will depend on Singapore's demand, Dr Dabeding said, adding that "if they want more, we will produce more".

Ten per cent of Singapore's total poultry requirements now is equivalent to Brunei's current total production, he said, noting that this shows the feasibility of domestic producers doubling their output and getting absorbed by the neighbouring market.

"We are eyeing Singapore because they are not producing poultry products locally and are heavily dependent on imports from Malaysia, Latin America and Europe," he said.

"So they are looking at alternative sources and we would like to take this opportunity."

Dr Dabeding recalled that Singapore had problems when the avian influenza struck Malaysia. He said: "Singapore had some shortages with the supply of poultry and eggs. Thailand and Indonesia were affected as well, so they could not get it (meat and eggs) from their neighbours and they are looking to us for help."

He said Brunei is free from avian influenza and other poultry and livestock diseases.

Existing poultry farms in the Sultanate will have to produce at full capacity to double output and reach a significant export volume, he said.

"If they are fully utilised, our production, if not doubled, may increase by at least 50 per cent and the department is also looking to our entrepreneurs to get involved (in the poultry sector).

"It will cause a chain reaction. If there is a market, people will be encouraged to produce more. Some local farms like Soon Lee, Hua Ho and QAF are ready to send their products overseas," he said.

Dr Dabeding said exporters will be making use of the Brunei Halal brand and that this will hopefully lead to exports to the Middle East and other markets with high demand for poultry.

"The Brunei Halal brand should come not only as a halal product, but a product of quality," he said.

Brunei is currently self-sufficient on poultry and eggs. It resorts to significant imports when there is high demand during festive seasons like Hari Raya.

The department is also working on exporting chicken eggs. "It depends on the local players. If the major producers of eggs are willing to work with us, we will help them export their eggs," Dr Dabeding said.

The government hopes the Brunei Halal brand will make a splash in Islamic markets chiefly due to its reputation for strict adherence to principles governing food preparation under Islamic teachings.

Ghanim International is the Brunei company that handles and manages the marketing of the Sultanate's premium halal brand which takes advantage of the country's reputation in selling goods to a growing Muslim market.

According to Asia One, the company is looking at major retailers such as Tesco and Carrefour to help sell products registered under the Brunei Halal brand to its target markets.

Among some of the objectives for the Brunei Halal brand are giving local firms a platform at gaining a slice of the global halal market, which is estimated at US$580.9 billion (809 billion Brunei dollars) and growing rapidly.