LESSONS learned and experiences gained during the past year will allow Brunei’s halal industry to grow even stronger in 2011, said the Minister of Industry and Primary Resources at the launching of the Brunei Halal Certification Workshop yesterday.
In his welcoming remarks, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar labelled 2011 as the “Year for Growth” for Brunei’s Halal brand, while 2010 has been a “Year of Learning”.
Many lessons have been learnt throughout the year, he said, but there will be more challenges to be met in the next year, especially in developing “systems and processes” that will allow Brunei’s halal manufacturing sector to meet increasing market demands and plan for expansion.
He commended all those involved in the industry for meeting the challenges. “All those people associated with Brunei Halal whether they are Religious Officers, Technical Officers, Auditors, Halal Supervisors and the Commercial community faced with many challenges,” he said.
“When we turn our attention to 2011, the lessons learned and the experienced gained during the past year will become a strong platform for growth,” he added.
Growth for the brand, he said, will see “a marked expansion in the number of countries targeted for the sales launch of Brunei halal products including United Kingdom, Europe and Asia”. There is also a possibility for made-in-Brunei halal products to enter the US market, he added.
The minister emphasised that strong public-private partnership must be established to develop a platform to manage the operational procedures and processes necessary for growth in order to establish the Sultanate as one of the global leaders in the halal industry.
“All sectors whether they are government or commercial must work hand in hand to achieve these aims. We must establish a partnership which will allow us to develop a platform to manage the operational procedures and processes necessary to create this exceptional opportunity for growth,” he added.
A range of 120 to 150 new food products are targeted for accreditation by the fourth quarter of 2011, he said, adding that developing and gaining accreditation for this number of products across a wide demographic will provide many challenges.
One major challenge facing efforts to push for a globally recognised halal brand is to “establish and agree on working or operational procedures which are efficient, effective, transparent and ‘user friendly”‘, he said.
“These procedures must include all the various steps required to market a product including halal application, audit and accreditation, halal supervisory, manufacturing, logistics, product packaging, marketing and communication,” he added.
“During the coming year we will see the product sourcing, manufacturing and production being developed across a wider global base including Australia, New Zealand, (the) Asian region and United Kingdom and Europe with the possibility of extending into the USA in the later part of the year,” he said
He said the commitment to the training of human resources is a critical factor in the success of Brunei Halal, whether they are religious auditors, technical officers, supervisors and commercial management personnel.
“It will be difficult to achieve the success we strive for, if we do not have the human resources to support this growth. This will have a positive effect as it will create employment opportunities for Bruneians as these resources require investment on both numbers and qualifications,” he added.
The one-day closed door workshop was held at the Empire Hotel and Country Club in Jerudong.
The Brunei Times