Home » Eyes On Brunei As Halal Food Hub In Eaga

Eyes On Brunei As Halal Food Hub In Eaga

News From : DagangHalal.com (03 Apr 2010)

BRUNEI stands a chance to become a processing hub of halal food in the East Asean Growth Area (Eaga) due in part to the Sultanate’s strong halal brand.

During a recent meeting of the Bimp-Eaga Business Council (BEBC), representatives from the four countries comprising the growth corridor Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines discussed how the Sultanate can act as a halal food processing hub, said Pg Yura Keseteria Pg Hj Md Yusuf, interim vice chairman of BEBC Brunei.

In an interview with The Brunei Times, he said representatives from Bimp-Eaga nations recognise that Brunei has a strong and well-recognised halal certification, which they would consider obtaining.

“Brunei’s halal certification is very well recognised in the Middle East. That’s why I think our counterparts in Bimp-Eaga recognise that and would like to use our halal brand against what they have,” he said.

He explained that it would also make sense for Brunei to act a trading hub for the growth area based on the results of a study by German Technical Corporation (GTZ), which indicated that it would be hard for the Sultanate to be competitive as a producing country due to high costs. GTZ was responsible for Bimp-Eaga’s recent rebranding.

“Our prices won’t be competitive because feed is very expensive as we import a lot of it, like corn and soy. Labour is also expensive, so overall Brunei it would be hard for prices to be competitive.

“If all the processing is done out of the country, it may be better. For example, an abattoir somewhere in the Philippines or Sabah which is certified halal by Brunei,” he said, adding that packaging could be done out of the country to cut costs.

Pg Yura Keseteria added that the product can be brought back to be processed in Brunei and after that, exported to the Middle East, China and wherever quality halal products are in high demand.

He also explained how Bimp-Eaga’s halal poultry model discussed more than three years ago was not commercially viable because it requires a lot of input from each country of different activities.

“So our approach to the situation is that individual countries would still promote halal poultry whereby they use halal certification from the Brunei Halal Board who can visit any processing abattoirs within Brunei and within Bimp-Eaga countries. Once that is done Brunei would export accordingly,” he added.

“Brunei as a food processing hub will be beneficial in the region as there is abundant resources in food, especially in the fisheries sector. There are also other opportunities like processing fruits, vegetables and other meat. In Mindanao, they have an excess of fruits and fisheries products,” he said.

Pg Yura Keseteria also mentioned a discussion on sardine processing between the Philippines and Brunei.

“Through Brunei’s Fisheries Department, they are building a processing plant in Muara. So, the fishing consortium in Mindanao would like to explore opportunities of having sardines from Brunei because we have an excess of supply which is not being utilised fully,” he said, adding that the Philippine side would like to buy these sardines and increase their total production.

This, he added, is an opportunity to process these canned sardines for export utilising Brunei’s halal certification.

During the last Senior Ministers Meeting in Brunei, Pg Yura Keseteria recalled them seeing an opportunity for the sardine business and tried negotiating with the Fisheries Department on how they can further utilise and explore possibilities of having an industry in Brunei.

“I think that’s good because right now, the local capacity being utilised is not much, maybe 30 to 40 per cent. If it is fully used, the factory in Muara would be feasible. This, with the Middle Eastern and Philippines market in mind,” he said.

The Brunei Times

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.