All eyes on Brunei’s leap
15th May, 2015
BRUNEI is emerging as force to reckon with in a few niche and high-value businesses and the world is watching this region with the Sultanate fast diversifying its economy through sustainable economic development, a panel of experts said.
With the country looking towards entering the competitive world of global business, the panel of experts who spoke at the International Food and Biotech Investment Conference, which concluded yesterday, stressed on the need for the country to first reach self-sufficiency.
The panel comprising International Forestry and Environment Specialist Jay Blakeney, Tropical Agronomist from New Zealand Egberto Soto and Managing Director of Mucow Malaysia Brangka Munan shared that there are a number of enterprises that Brunei can venture into including dairy farming, agriculture and eco-tourism.
It was pointed that countries in the region, including Brunei, can opt to import livestock for the purpose of dairy farming which will have to include cross-breeding to ensure the survivability of these animals in terms of adapting to the country’s climate and seasons.
“With innovation, Brunei is sitting within a region that demands more and more dairy products and you can do flavours that Australia and New Zealand have yet to think about, such as durian-flavoured milk of which the ice-cream flavour is popular,” said Munan, who moved from New Zealand to Kuching and set up a dairy farming project.
“Every country is proud of their food and each country can bring it into the market with a bit of innovation,” and the Brunei Halal brand carries value-added potential especially for Islamic markets.
However, if Brunei considers purchasing dairy products in bulk from other countries and intends to label them with the Brunei Halal brand, “the main issue here is that Halal certification is widespread with producing countries asking what is in it for them”.
In terms of agricultural management, Soto suggested that Brunei should go the Australian way through industries in horticulture and the Sultanate is well-suited to explore this viable option especially with its resources that can potentially yield success in this particular area.
“The horticulture industry has some of the best efficient and productive crops. The best thing for Brunei to start with is self-sufficiency and that will help in building capacities and then move on to intensive management of horticulture,” it was advised.
Heavily dependent on non-local products, Brunei’s current importation practices are not sustainable.
“How far Brunei can continue like this (we) don’t know. Brunei will have to first develop its horticulture and agriculture sustainability and progress to intensive management.”
Source: Borneo Bulletin