Brunei GAP ensures food safety, product quality

Danial Norjidi

Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) is an integrated cultivation technique or system where various planting techniques are combined to enhance farm productivity by focussing on producing quality and safe products.

According to the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood website, GAP is also concerned with a systematic, well-organised farming system and, in particular, farm records for traceability in the event of a product-related problem.

In the Sultanate, the Brunei Good Agricultural Practice (Brunei GAP) is a standard created based on the ASEAN GAP, which focusses on food safety and product quality. The standard aims to ensure that all vegetable and fruit produce in the country is safe to be consumed and fulfils standards for export to the international market.

The Brunei GAP farm certification programme has been carried out by the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood, Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism since 2014.

Recently, Zeneco Solutions became the first company recognised by the department to conduct Brunei GAP training, which is a condition for attaining Brunei GAP certification. The company will offer a paid service to farmers wishing to take part in the Brunei GAP programme.

CEO of Zeneco Solutions Dr Vanessa Teo speaks at the event. PHOTOS: DANIAL NORJIDI
ABOVE & BELOW: Managing Director of Moncherry Fruit Farm Dr Joel Moncherry and Operations Manager of Gropoint Sdn Bhd Foo Gwen Tong with their Brunei GAP certificates

During a presentation ceremony held on September 18 organised by the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood, a certificate was presented by the event’s guest of honour Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong to founder and CEO of Zeneco Solutions Dr Vanessa Teo in recognition of the company becoming a Brunei GAP training provider.

Speaking at the event, Dr Teo said, “We are pleased for the recognition of Brunei GAP trainers as we have also collaborated with the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood to highlight the importance of Brunei GAP and how it can help improve the quality of farm products and help improve farmers’ business in the country.

“I believe that the certification is important and brings benefits to farmers including premium price, recognised quality and higher market potential. With increased importance for attaining GAP certification in ASEAN, this also makes the need to attain Brunei GAP increase. We are also assisting farmers by providing special services including GAP training, Agrome Application and assisting farmers to achieve new markets.”

Director of Agriculture and Agrifood Hajah Aidah binti Haji Mohd Hanifah said, “The department has carried out a number of training sessions and given guidance to Zeneco Solutions since February 2018 until March this year. The company is responsible for delivering Brunei GAP training, which is part of the requirements for farmers to attain Brunei GAP status. With this recognition, quality and effectiveness in delivering training on best agricultural practices will be achieved, Insya Allah.”

The event also saw the presentation of Brunei GAP certification to Moncherry Fruit Farm Sdn Bhd and Gropoint Sdn Bhd, both of which succeeded in fulfilling Brunei GAP criteria, which involves various stages from farm inspection, internal and external audit as well as laboratory analysis on farm products.

“The Department of Agriculture and Agrifood has guided Moncherry Fruit Farm Sdn Bhd and Ladang Gropoint Sdn Bhd to obtain the Brunei GAP certification. With the commitment and cooperation given by both farms, they have become among the earliest fruit farms to achieve Brunei GAP,” said the Director of Agriculture and Agrifood.

On Brunei GAP certification process, Managing Director of Moncherry Fruit Farm Dr Joel Moncherry said, “We had to arrange the farm properly in terms of traceability – you have to trace your products to make sure that if there’s any problem you can trace back.”

A lot of importance is put on keeping records. “Whenever you do application of fertiliser, or if there is any problem with pests and you want to apply pesticide, everything is recorded properly,” he said, adding that this also includes storage of fertiliser and pesticide. “I’m happy I got the certificate,” he continued. “It will help the recognition. The consumer will see that the farm is certified and that the quality of the product is there, especially in the export market.”

Meanwhile, Operations Manager of Gropoint Sdn Bhd Foo Gwen Tong said, “When we export, it’s best to have certification because people would recognise it is safe, people would have confidence in the product.”

On the certification process, he said, “I think it was quite straightforward. The Department of Agriculture and Agrifood was very helpful. They worked closely with us to get the documentation and everything right.”