Local food company AZ Food (B) Sdn Bhd, Tunisia-based Catering and International Trading (CIT) and the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the Design and Technology Building in Anggerek Desa Technology Park.
According to a BEDB press release, the construction of the manufacturing plant is expected to start in the third quarter of 2016 and will be completed by the fourth quarter of 2017. It will be situated on a 4.48 hectare site in the Salambigar Industrial Park.
BEDB said that the facility will create 206 new jobs, generate more export revenues, transfer technology and skills to locals and create business opportunities for small and medium businesses.
The facility will prepare ready-made halal meals using locally-sourced raw materials, manufacture packaging materials and assemble vending machines that will be used to distribute the packaged meals.
“The packaged food, which would have a shelf life of 24 months, is intended to be exported to markets in ASEAN and beyond, where it will be distributed through vending machines and retail stores,” said the BEDB.
BEDB’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Hjh Hasnah Hj Ibrahim said the project will create “one of the most sophisticated” production facilities in Brunei targeting the export market.
“The project aims to export most of the products overseas and is expected to contribute to the growth of Brunei’s economy by increasing the overall industrial activity,” she said in a speech delivered during yesterday’s MoU signing.
Hjh Hasnah said using patented technology and adherence to international food safety standards will ensure that every meal produced will retain its taste and nutritional values without the need for refrigeration.
She said the project is also in line with Brunei’s aim to attain food self-sufficiency and will strengthen the sultanate’s position as a competitive destination for quality food manufacturing in the region.
Last month, a London-based market intelligence firm called Southeast Asia a “goldmine” for businesses catering to the region’s large Muslim population.
Euromonitor Interational in its report entitled ‘Doing Business in the Halal Market: Products, Trends and Growth Opportunities’, said that businesses, including the halal packaged food industry, has grown by 10 per cent in 2014 due to growing income and health awareness among Southeast Asian consumers.
Meanwhile, Hjh Hasnah signed the MoU in behalf of BEDB while Shaikh Khalid Shaikh Hj Ahmad, AZ Food’s chairman, signed for the local company. Albdelbaset M Abid, CIT’s chairman and Ali Ghammagui, general manager of CIT, signed for the Tunisian company.
Present as the guest of honour was Yang Berhormat Dato Paduka Hj Ali Hj Apong, in his capacity as BEDB chairman.
Amedeo Pagotto, general manager of SMC Technologies, a company which provides the sterilisation technology used in the food production process, along with other senior officials from the BEDB, also attended the event.
The Brunei Times