Agro-tech park to create 8,200 jobs


Sunday, August 2, 2009

THE Brunei Agro Technology Park in the Tungku area is estimated to
create 8,200 jobs once completed, depending on the scope of the park
and the finished infrastructure, which will be financed with $200
million capital from the government.

“Based on my experience,
the tech park may be quite different two or three years down the line,
because you’re never really sure about how these markets are going to
develop or how they will perceive you,” said Jim Jessamine, master
planner of SQW Consultants in charge of overseeing the park’s
development, during a presentation yesterday at the International Halal
Market Conference where he said the job estimates are based on the
design of phase one, which will include warehousing, factory, offices,
research units, hotels and retail activities.

The government
expects to launch the park in 2011, Bernama quoted Normah SH Jamil,
acting director of the Agriculture Department of the Industry and
Primary Resources Ministry, as saying.

The development of the
park is to encourage research and innovation within the halal industry,
which is said to include agriculture, fishery, forestry and related
processing industries. It will be directly linked with the development
of the Brunei Halal brand.

“Should the market evolve or change,
the … physical plan is flexible and is designed to be flexible,”
Jessamine said. Should the park start to have larger industrial
enterprises, the park, he said, would allocate a large piece of land
for them. “On the other hand, if we find proportionally that there are
more start-up enterprises we could adjust the plan to take that into
account. We have mentioned that we have components, that are focused on
ecotourism. If that’s successful, we’re looking at expanding that
component of the park, and that’s what flexibility means,” he said.

He added the direction the park could also depend on the the operators that would take up space there.

example, we could end up doing more beauty products. No one really
knows until we go out and deal with the market and start to engage
them,” he said.

Jessamine added that there are a lot of
interests from China, Somalia and Kenya. “It’s an opportunity and
everyone’s interested in making it an opportunity.

China’s point of view, they’ve got a lot of raw materials that they
would probably like to look at distributing and from Brunei’s point of
view, we have lots of product and services that we could put through to
China. So these things will be a two-way street and it’s not all about
producing,” he said.

“I don’t want to sound negative because
there is a lot that can happen here, but I think that we have to be
careful that our expectations don’t exceed the reality. As I said …
this will be a hard job,” he said.

“It won’t be a simple thing
to do, whether it’s building and setting up the park, developing the
park, or managing the park. Developing the brand, establishing the
market are integrated with the development of the park, but it is
knowing when to move forward together at an equal pace,” he said as he
explained the integration of the Brunei Halal Brand development in
relation with the park. “Broadly everything (the park and the Brunei
Halal Brand) is currently moving at the same pace”.

“The brand
is beginning to take some sort of form, and we have an initial plan for
the park. We are getting a clearer idea of how to market it and what
we’ll increasingly need to do is harmonise our efforts and come
together as a team,” he said.

The Brunei Times