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Bringing pieces together

Work is under way on a new facility to provide a platform for the development of the Brunei food industry.

Ghanim International Corporation Sdn Bhd (Ghanim) at the consent of the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam is establishing a Brunei Food Industry Development (BFID) Multipurpose Manufacturing and Processing Facility, in collaboration with DARe (Darussalam Enterprise).

Ghanim International Corporation Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer Dr Nur Rahman spoke on the BFID project in a recent interview with the Borneo Bulletin.

Ghanim was established by the government in 2009 to play a key role in the development of the food industry and diversification of the economy by developing, marketing and promoting bruneihalalfoods products in Brunei and across the world.

Ghanim actively works in partnership with local businesses for product development and production of innovative Made in Brunei products aimed at import substitution and growing exports.

“We have been working with local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) for the last 10 years or more to develop them, and worked with them to develop Brunei-made products and create products for the Brunei market and international market,” said Dr Nur. “Alhamdulillah, we have successfully exported Bruneian-made products to many countries, including China, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore and we are expecting to export to Japan, Bangladesh and other international markets.”

The BFID Multipurpose Manufacturing and Processing Facility is being established to further support the national aspirations for export and import substitution initiatives, and to ensure food security for Brunei as well as strengthen MSME capacity to manufacture products.

As Dr Nur explained, “The Government of Brunei has come up with ideas on how it can work together to make a processing plant that will have the highest possible international standards, where the MSMEs can come and do their product research and development, and also manufacture their product.

“One of the things that we noticed lacking in our MSMEs is a proper packaging facility,” he shared, adding that MSMEs have got the idea, proof of concept and the product, but in terms of a processing and packaging facility, many of the MSMEs are not able to produce and pack their products in a cost-effective way.

“With that in mind, Ghanim and DARe partnered up to come up with this processing plant and multipurpose facility under BFID.

“We are aiming to develop the local MSMEs and the food industry ecosystem as a whole, so our intention is to set up this facility not only for developing and processing products, but also having a research and development (R&D) system in the processing plant.”

A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the facility on April 12 with Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah as the guest of honour. Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy (Economy) and Chairman of Ghanim Dato Seri Paduka Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin was also present.

Dr Nur shared that the facility is expected to be completed by the end of October and ready to operate in commercial production by the end of the year.

The BFID project is being set up at Lot 10, Salambigar Industrial Area with the objective to set up a world class facility to manufacture various categories and varieties of innovative food products, equipped with three processing lines.

Line One is for ‘MSMEs Multipurpose Production and Repacking Line, Fruit and Vegetable Processing’, which as Dr Nur explained, will have the facilities to support local MSMEs to carry out R&D and packaging.

In addition, for growers of local produce, the CEO said, “We’ll have banana ripening chambers in the facility. We’ll have a storage facility as well, and a repacking facility for the local producers so that we can do retail packing and extend shelf life so that local producers can be benefited.”

“Hopefully with this facility we can actually repack and also extend the shelf life of the produce, so that we can potentially export the local produce for the international market.”

Line Two is for ‘Multipurpose Innovative Meat, Seafood and Vegetable Value Added Processing Line’. According to the CEO, Line Two will have a canning facility and retort facility. “We will be able to can different types of products such as beef, lamb, tuna and seafood. Also, we can do frozen breaded lines, so we have a line where we can do nuggets and other frozen breaded products, as well as pack freeze, storage and distribution.”

Meanwhile, Line Three is for the ‘Manufacturing of Innovative Crackers and Snacks Line’.

Dr Nur said that, with these three processing lines, “we are going to be able to create different categories of products, so that we can create import substitution products”.

The facility aspires to realise the national aspiration for import substitution, enhance export capacity and capabilities as well as contribute to securing national food security, employment opportunities and diversification of the economy.

It will provide spaces in line one on rental basis to MSME entrepreneurs to manufacture ready-to-export products under the bruneihalalfoods brand or the MSMEs’ own brand. The facility will also be able to cater to OEM (original equipment manufacturer) production, for production in line two and line three. In addition, this facility will create over 100 job opportunities by 2026.

The facility is expected to be ISO 22000, British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certified by end of 2021 and will be equipped with various facilities and capabilities including: storage (ambient, chilled and cold for finished goods and raw materials); loading and unloading zones; utilities including electrical room, machinery workshop, compressor and boiler room; Ghanim headquarter office space including meeting rooms, R&D room, quality assurance (QA) lab and others; relevant amenities including prayer rooms, changing rooms; parking areas; and a showcase area.

As part of Ghanim’s aspirations to support government’s strategic objectives for the food industry, the facility is expected to not only meet Ghanim’s production requirements for bruneihalalfoods in both local and international markets but is also expected to significantly open up opportunities for local MSMEs to grow and develop their production capacity.

The facility is expected to be the first of its type in the country and will significantly contribute to the growth of the food industry ecosystem and value chain by providing a platform for the development of innovative food products, providing a complete solution from sourcing of raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, distribution and export of locally-made products.

It was shared that this will also enhance capabilities of local MSMEs to create new innovative products through the usage of the R&D facility at BFID, managed and supervised by highly skilled professionals employed by Ghanim.

“This is one of the unique facilities that we see for Brunei that we have got long aspirations that we have had to export Bruneian-made products for the international market,” said the Ghanim CEO. “While we have done small exports over the last few years, we will be able to do more export utilising this facility, and we can actually create more import substitution products, to save revenue. Instead of buying products from overseas, we can actually innovate and have our own manufactured products in Brunei, so this is a unique opportunity.

“Insya Allah, this is going to help fulfil one of the goals of Vision 2035 that we want to diversify the economy, and we want to achieve the diversification of food industry in Brunei through this,” he continued. “This is probably one step forward to materialise our diversification process. This is actually going to create the whole food industry ecosystem for Brunei. It may not be the complete solution yet, but it is one step forward in the diversification process.”

He added, “We have got primary resources. The Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) has been working hard in terms of creating of the primary resources. We’ll be using all the primary resources including beef, lamb, chicken, fruits, vegetables and seafood as well, and we will supply and mainly target the international market so that, in turn, our food industry can grow. That is our aspiration.

“This is only phase one. If we can implement phase one successfully, phase two will come soon.”

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