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Friday, February 3, 2023
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    Food security boost with Brunei-Singapore cooperation

    Adib Noor & Izah Azahari

    Food security, and how to ensure Brunei and Singapore can complement each other, was one of the main topics discussed between Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin and Singapore’s Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu during her visit.

    This was shared by Fu during an interview with local media at The Empire Brunei yesterday.

    “We are both small countries with a small population, but obviously Brunei has a lot more land than Singapore, and in Singapore, we would like to think we have some know-how, for example, in the area of fish-rearing,” said the Singapore Minister.

    She noted how Singapore can bring in the know-how in areas such as sea space to human resources in Brunei and Singapore to work towards sustainable and a secured food supply in the Sultanate that could benefit both the Bruneian food industry and the Singapore population.

    Fu said that the export of eggs and fish to Singapore can bring new business to local farmers as well as investors, giving better economic returns for investments, and at the same time, giving Singapore a new source of food.

    “Given the environmental conditions here, the water and air are clean, and it gives us a lot of assurance that we are able to secure the supply. It’s win-win on both sides, and I think post-pandemic, that’s something we need to think about – resilience of supply – whether it’s in food or in any other way.”

    She believes that this is one area the two countries can have more discussions on, for example in food safety, where the exported food must meet certain production criteria to ensure safe consumption, which is a common interest in both Singapore and Brunei.

    ABOVE & BELOW: Singapore’s Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu during her working visit to Golden Chicks Livestock Farm Sdn Bhd; and the Singapore Minister during her interview with the local media. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR & MPRT

    On Tuesday, the Singapore Minister made a working visit to Golden Chicks Livestock Farm Sdn Bhd in Sungai Petai, Labi, Kuala Belait.

    She was welcomed by Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism Hajah Dahliana binti Haji Aliakbar and Director of Agriculture and Agrifood Hajah Masliana Yuliah binti Abdullah.

    The visit began with a briefing of the workings of the farm by Golden Chicks Livestock Farm owner and manager Ong Chek Thiam, who led the tour of the production system of laying hens using a closed cage system.

    Golden Chicks Livestock Farm first began business on June 4, 2016 operating on a 14.60 hectare farm. Production has increased from approximately 45 million eggs in 2017 to over 75 million eggs in 2021.

    The company is one of the three main egg producing companies in the Sultanate and has the potential to export chicken eggs to Singapore. Fu said Singapore is happy to accredit Brunei to export eggs to them and this will be the first. “My visit has shown that focus is on animal health and food safety. I am very impressed to see that the process is highly automated,”  she said.

    She added that reduced handling by people will shorten the time the food supply will be ready for export, meaning it will arrive fresher in Singapore and can lengthen the lifespan of the food, which spells well for the Brunei farming industry.

    “I’m very encouraged to see the deployment of technology and I hope to see more.

    “With us establishing that kind of supply and the supply chain that’s needed, we can encourage more businesses to consider investing in Brunei,” said Fu. In aspects of other concrete cooperation that will come out of the visit, Fu noted her working visit to Barramundi Asia (B) Sdn Bhd who have successfully hatched and harvested their first batch of fish, which Singapore is looking at how to support them better.

    “There’s still a lot of work to be done, and I wouldn’t want to underestimate the challenges because it’s developing a new market, a new way of logistical operations to send the fish in time into the market, so there’s still a lot to be worked on,” added Fu.

    She noted that the working visit is to open up new sources of food for Singapore and export for Bruneian farmers, and to ensure safety standards are met so that both countries start off on a good footing in terms of trust and perception of quality.

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