Brunei’s seafood industry poised for big jump

|     Danial Norjidi     |

A NOTABLE recent development took place last month when a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Pure Fresh International Holdings Limited and Ghanim International Corporation Sdn Bhd.

The MoU was signed for a strategic partnership for overall aquaculture development and the processing of seafood for export to China’s massive market.

In addition, the MoU has paved the way for the establishment of a larger-scale processing centre for blue shrimp and other seafood, a hatchery for the breeding of blue shrimp, aquaculture farms and a laboratory for the testing of physical, chemical and microbiological properties.

It was also reported that more than BND400 million will be allocated for the projects which will be implemented in phases over a period of five years.

Pure Fresh International Holdings Limited has already set up its first Southeast Asian processing centre near Muara Port, in collaboration with Ghanim International Corporation.

The processing centre, costing more than BND10 million, has been in operation since April 2018, processing blue shrimps for export to China.

Speaking to the Bulletin, Ghanim International Corporation Chief Executive Officer Dr Nur Rahman explained that the MoU is an alignment of two businesses, creating integrated relations and focus on specific items.

“We know exactly what to do to capitalise on Brunei’s clean and safe environment, and its quality blue shrimp and seafood,” he said.

He shared that over the next few months they will be mitigating all the issues in hatchery breeding and growth. “Pure Fresh has been working with a number of growers and a number of local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are already supplying to their processing plant at the Muara Fish Landing Complex area. We can engage more growers and entrepreneurs to come into play, as the demand is huge.”

Touching on massive markets and opportunities, he said, “Besides China, Singapore and Malaysia, Australia and Japan are also interested to buy blue shrimps from us. Our challenge is to grow more and sell more. It’s an opportunity for local growers and we hope to capitalise on this.

“With the processing plant in Muara, we can supply eight containers a month easily, as long as we have the raw materials.”

Meanwhile, Director of Pure Fresh Eyan Ou said, “We are committed to take part in the development of Brunei Vision, to enhance the viable value chain and reliable exports, to safeguard the future of the industry.”

He noted that since the beginning of their partnership with Ghanim they have successfully exported blue shrimp and other Halal products, with more in the coming months, as we continue to work together on other projects to meet the huge demands from China and other countries.

He also added, “With the bruneihalalfoods brand, we see that there are massive opportunities for us not only in China, but also in the Muslim world and in Western countries. Despite the challenges, the opportunities are much bigger. We will do our best to work with Ghanim and local SMEs.”

Dr Nur Rahman and Eyan Ou also lauded the positive response from the Chinese market.

Eyan Ou highlighted that Brunei’s blue shrimps are very popular in the Chinese market. “Customers say it’s very tasty, with a unique colour. The blue shrimp crackers are also very popular, and most Chinese people associate Brunei Darussalam with its blue shrimps.”

Dr Nur Rahman added, “Brunei’s fresh blue shrimp and blue shrimp’s crackers have become a unique product for China’s market, and given their quality, there is not much competition.

“There are not many people in the world who are commercially producing such quality blue shrimps, and this is a window of opportunity for us.”

He also explained that they are not only promoting bruneihalalfoods under Ghanim International Corporation, but are also promoting Brunei Darussalam as a country.

“The demand is so high, that local blue shrimp and seafood farmers would not be able to produce enough for supply. We are willing to take 100 per cent of everything that comes from the farms.”

To capture more Chinese markets, he highlighted the need to ensure that the quality, consistency and supply are maintained. “It’s a win-win situation, and we are very honoured to be able to invest in Brunei Darussalam.”

Dr Nur Rahman added that Brunei is very peaceful, and that all the government agencies are very supportive of foreign direct investments (FDIs).

Eyan Ou said, “We are working together with Ghanim International Corporation to export bruneihalalfoods products to China and also to Muslim countries.”

Currently, bruneihalalfoods products are available online via Alibaba, Jindong and Pure Fresh apps, as well as through retail shops and outlets in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Qingdao.

He went on to add, “We also have five million members under Pure Fresh. If every member buys one box of fresh blue shrimps per month, the demand would be massive.

We will work hard with Ghanim and local blue shrimp farms to increase our production for export.”