Matchmaking event helps agripreneurs level up

|    Lyna Mohamad    |

AN AGRICULTURE sector matchmaking exhibition was held at the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Hari Raya celebration at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas yesterday.

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, and members of the royal family toured the exhibition.

The event was to provide agriculture and agrifood entrepreneurs the opportunity to pair up with the right partners and organisations to help market their products and get their businesses off the ground or to the next level.

Exhibitors included the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT), as well as agriculture and agrifood marketing agencies, supermarkets, catering firms, contracting and export firms, and government-linked companies (GLCs).

Representing the MPRT at the exhibition were the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA) and the Department of Fisheries.

The DAA showcased several initiatives to support the production of local agricultural products to meet domestic and export market requirements.

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 touring the Golden Corporation booth. Also in the picture is His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik. – PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR
His Majesty at the Supa Save booth with Chief Executive Officer of QAF Group Albert Lau

These include the preparation of agricultural land and basic farm infrastructure, support services and technical advice, as well as a number of the DAA agricultural programmes and projects such as the Agricultural Entrepreneurs Exposure Programme for Youths, Agricultural Pilot Project, Contract Plantation, Local Production Matching With Market Demand, Ladang Kitani Fresh Products Programme, and Facilitating of International Standards for Food Safety.

The Department of Fisheries exhibited its initiatives to improve the aquaculture, fishing and fish processing industries and to help local firms gain more headway in the export market. These efforts include programmes for opening investment in the sector and other areas such as contract farming, certification and recognition, and bio-security.

Participating supermarkets – including Hua Ho Department Store, Supa Save and Sim Kim Huat Department Store – displayed a range of their products, while exhibitors under the ‘caterers’ category included Royal Brunei Catering Sdn Bhd and the Brunei Association of Hotels.

The sole GLC at the exhibition was Ghanim International Sdn Bhd, an agent whose work involves helping local entrepreneurs market their products to the export market.

Meanwhile, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong in a brief interview pointed out that the exhibition involving entrepreneurs and operators in the agricultural and agrifood industry serves as “a platform for both parties to communicate on their respective sectors.

“Farmers also have no problem finding buyers for their agricultural products,” the minister said, noting that he was pleased with Yayasan’s initiative of gathering the parties involved in this sector for the exhibition.

“The gathering not only gives farmers the opportunity but indirectly enlightens supermarket operators on what vegetables can be grown in this country and supplied fresh from the local farms. The exhibition also facilitates a business-matching session between agricultural entrepreneurs and suppliers and buyers such as supermarkets, restaurants, hotels and airline caterers such as Royal Brunei Catering, and hence helps to limit and reduce the export costs of fresh agricultural products. By buying farm products in the country, the freshness and production of the farm are also controlled in terms of use of chemicals that can [cause doubts among] consumers,” he said.