Brunei Darussalam is working towards positioning itself as a Halal industry hub in the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) and ASEAN regions. At the same time, Brunei is also focussed on the advancement of its Halal food, beverages, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
BIMP-EAGA, through BIMP-EAGA Vision 2025, provides the policies that give significant advantages to local businesses and their alliances to expand within the region.
The Brunei Darussalam BIMP-EAGA Business Council (BD-BEBC) strategic initiative is to promote the development of the BIMP-EAGA region as the main economic platform to move towards a Halal economy.
BD-BEBC focusses on branding the BIMP-EAGA region as an International Halal Trade Hub on Syariah Compliance Value Stream and Trade services. The council promotes the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) to develop as an industries and production base for the global Islamic market.
On August 15, 2020, the BD-BEBC launched its e-commerce platform, which is a joint initial investment between GTWO International Co Ltd – Thailand, IHTHS Corporation – Brunei Darussalam and PT Winmas – Indonesia, comprising products from BIMP-EAGA and beyond with a category for the Syariah compliant products.
Apart from online marketing and trading, the platform will indirectly provide the data collection for the Syariah-compliant products and the traceability of its supply chain that provide assurances for the Muslim end user, with the greater prospective of enhancing the exposure and the better understanding of BIMPEAGA region within the global perspective.
On December 2, 2020, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on Syariah Compliance Products Development and Trade between the BD-BEBC and Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA).
The MoU signing propels the development of the Halal economy in the BIMP-EAGA region with the primary focus on Halal products and certifications. The MoU has been endorsed by BIMP-EAGA Business Councils for BD-BEBC to play a leading role in developing BIMP-EAGA as one of the biggest special Halal economy zones. The MoU is also focussed on investment opportunities in the Halal economy with potential for joint ventures between Brunei Darussalam and Taiwan.
According to the PEW Research Centre, the world Muslim population is projected to increase to nearly three billion from 1.86 billion by 2060, said BD-BEBC Vice Chairman Captain (Rtd) Zailan bin Pehin Datu Kerma Setia Major (Rtd) Dato Seri Laila Jasa Mohd Don. The Asia- Pacific region, with almost one billion Muslims, is becoming one of the largest potential markets for Halal products.
He added that the implementation of the Syariah Law in Brunei Darussalam should provide an ideal platform for BIMP-EAGA in developing the Halal economy policy to progress development in industrial growth and provide facilitation to businesses participating in the Halal economy, expected to reach USD4 trillion in the Asia-Pacific region.
Halal and Islamic goods and services provide ethical options for consumers looking for clean, wholesome solutions, which thus extends to Halal food, Halal travel and tourism, modest fashion, Halal media and recreation, Halal pharmaceuticals, Islamic finance logistics and any other aspects. The possibilities are vast. In Brunei, the Halal certification is issued by the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) under the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA).
The Halal Food Control Division is responsible for the enforcement of Halal Meat Act, Chapter 183 and its regulations, and Halal Certificate and Halal Label Order (2005). Under this order, all restaurants and food manufacturers catering to the Muslim community must obtain a Halal certificate as well as Halal branding.
One notable recent development for Brunei’s Halal industry was the launch of Plantasti, the world’s first Halal plant-based meat ‘Ready to Eat Meals’ on October 31, 2020.
It is the latest product under Saahtain Asia Sdn Bhd, a joint venture company between the United Arab Emirates based Saahtain Group and the Strategic Development Capital Fund of the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) of Brunei Darussalam.
The Plantasti product range will be available at selected outlets in Brunei Darussalam. The first export market will be Sweden with a local food distributor.
BMC Food Industries, which is under TGT Group of Companies, collaborated with four Japanese companies to come up with three Chibo products, eight Kanda products, five Ginrei products and one Harry’s product.
The collaboration came from years of discussion, product-testing between the Japanese companies and BMC with the continuous efforts of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) which played a pivotal role in bringing the parties together.
Ghanim International Corporation Sdn Bhd was established by the Government of Brunei Darussalam in 2009 to develop, market and promote bruneihalalfoods products across the world.
The bruneihalalfoods product portfolio includes beverages, snacks, ready-to-eat meals, condiments, frozen meals and fresh food such as beef, lamb, chicken and seafood. Ghanim now has more than 199 stock keeping units (SKUs), most of which are available on the market.
Ghanim actively works in partnership with local businesses, engaging with over 20 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) for the production of Made in Brunei products for local distribution and export. The company distributes bruneihalalfoods in China and Singapore, while also actively improving trading operations to supply halal beef and seafood for international markets.
To date, Ghanim has established expansive networks across Brunei, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Philippines, Australia, India and various other countries.
In 2018, Ghanim launched its one-stop retail outlet The Junction by bruneihalalfoods. The Junction outlets are available at the Ministry of Finance and Economy building, Brunei International Airport, RIPAS Hospital, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Department of Immigration and National Registration, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, among others.
Ghanim has also received interest from Bangladesh, Japan, Singapore and the UAE to set up bruneihalalfoods junctions in the respective countries. These opportunities are all currently in review.
With its extensive experience in international trade, Ghanim has set its sight on establishing a new facility for manufacturing and processing of various product categories, most of which are intended for export.
The facility is expected to be set up in Salambigar Industrial Site, in collaboration with Darussalam Enterprise (DARe). In addition to processing international standard food products, the facility is also expected to support local MSMEs for research, development and production.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, local tamu businesses were temporarily closed for safety measures. The Buy Local Produce Campaign (BLPC) was launched to support local vendors, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economy, Ministry of Home Affairs and DARe.
As part of the initiative, Ghanim purchased various produce from local vendors to be supplied to local retail outlets including The Junction.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only led to a dramatic loss of human life, but has also affected communities, businesses, and nations globally as the pandemic profoundly exposes the vulnerability of globalisation, public health and food systems, among others.
For Ghanim, COVID-19 has led to exports being halted since February 2020 due to various disruptions from logistics, lockdowns, changes in import requirements, as well as the availability of raw materials impacting production and sales.
To make up for the loss in export revenue, Ghanim quickly shifted its focus to fulfilling local market requirements including new product development. Thanks to the concerted and swift efforts by the government, Brunei has been navigating the pandemic exceedingly well in comparison to many other countries. With orders coming in and export activities to resume in the coming months, Ghanim is confident that its business will recover in 2021.
This will be an important year for Ghanim as the company embarks on the development of its multipurpose facility. Ghanim will continue to work closely with MSMEs by supporting product development and providing access into the international market. The company is also expecting to develop new products.
Moving forward, Ghanim aims to expand The Junction outlets locally into strategic commercial and residential locations through the establishment of a franchise entrepreneurship programme. On the international scale, Ghanim aims to establish its outlets in key markets including Bangladesh, Japan, Singapore and the UAE.
Ghanim hopes to continue serving its consumers and partners as part of its aspiration to grow bruneihalalfoods into a household brand in the country.
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