Production To Cross 2-Billion-Dollar Mark In Ten Years’ Time

Bandar Seri Begawan – In Its new milestone initiatives,’ the
government is putting together strategic implementation programmes with
the aim to increase agricultural production to $612 million by 2013
(four years from now), and $2.7 billion in ten years time (2023) an
ambitious strategy where the gross domestic agricultural production
stood only at $225.44 million in 2008.

Stimulating the growth of large-scale and export-orientated
agribusiness, such as in the food processing industry, is at the helm
of the new government agenda in the next 20 years that would enable the
country to achieve such ambitions.

The strategy hopes to make local products capable of competing in the domestic market as well as in the global marketplace.

Development of agribusiness, an industrial activity that includes
activities ranging from farming to manufacturing and supply of
agricultural equipments as well as in large-scale export oriented food
processing business, has become a new emphasis in the government’s
medium-term agricultural strategy.

These strategies, underlined in the newly released “Strategic Plan –
Medium Term Implementation Program (2008 – 2013)” book; will be devised
alongside or in addition to the nation’s effort in strengthening its
primary commodity production such as the rice production towards

Consultancy works for the development of food processing centres and
incubators for local SMEs are amongst the future development mentioned
in the new strategy.

According to the Department of Agriculture – low farming profits,
coupled with high production costs is making farming unattractive to
the younger generation. Furthermore, the fact that local farmers are
suffering chronically from import competition and lack ‘comparative
surplus’ is not making the situation any better. Brunei, according to
the strategic plan, does not have an advantage in producing primary

Due to this reason, the department of agriculture is moving up its
focus to achieve greener pastures for the next 20 years, it was learnt.
That is devising a strategy to expand agribusiness and stimulate food
processing activities. The emphasis to stimulate the growth of the food
processing industry will also complement the efforts to maximise the
potential of the niche market “The Brunei Halal Brand”, it was

In its newly released book, the centerpiece of the strategy is to
sharpen the ‘comparative advantage’ and ‘competitiveness’ of locally
produced products. This strategy would also lead to the creation of
jobs for the people.

There are currently 5,192 active entrepreneurs in the local
agribusiness, including those in the livestock, crops and food
processing industries (agrifood business), taking a total land area of
8,252 hectares.

There are 817 people involved in livestock farming (3,899 ha),
whilst 4,268 people in crops farming (4,353 ha) and 107 in agrifood

In the new medium-term strategic plan; emphasis is given to four
flagship projects. It includes development of the padi industry, the
Brunei Halal brand, livestock and the Agrifood Industry.

Other development efforts will include enhancement in the production
of vegetables, fruits and flowers as well as decorative plants,
traditional medicines, biotechnology farming and other commodities.

The strategic plan underlines scopes of activities with the aim to
develop the agriculture and agrifood industry into a large-scale,
high-productivity, export-orientated, and high-quality with value added

According to the new strategy, agribusiness includes activities
encompassing farming, manufacturing and supply of agricultural
equipments, processing, warehousing and trading of agricultural based
products. This definition is a step-up from agricultural activities
that focus only on farming and selling of agricultural products.

With this new insight and mission, the agricultural sector will not
only depend on the production of primary commodities that is very
labour-intensive, but will benefit from the opportunities in
agribusiness that includes the processing sector and other secondary
processing activities.

In 2008, the agricultural production stood at $225.44 million,
whilst the livestock production stood at $131.6 million. The production
in livestock was encouraging, but efforts and opportunities toward
export-oriented production will be explored.

Farming commodities include fruits, vegetables, rice and flower.
Focusing on the production of high quality and healthy products is one
of the strategies undertaken to ensure local products capable of
competing in the global marketplace. Farms production in 2008 stood at
$41.34 million, whilst 10 years ago in 1999, it stood at $30.61 million.

The contribution of agriculture towards the national economy is
important, even though contribution is still minimal. The private
sectors involvement in the agribusiness in central or pivotal areas is
essential in the hopes of realising the nation’s new ambition.

The Department of the Agriculture has undertaken in depth research
in relation to the potential commodities, and has identified a number
of commodities that can be given priority.

With an ambitious strategic planning, the agricultural and agrifood
sectors would be able to achieve its goal to reach an income of $2.7
billion in 2023 and in the medium-term target of $612 million by 2013.

In 2008, the gross product was at $225.44 million, which means in a
medium-term, that number must increase by 171 per cent by 2013.

A 171 per cent increase, according to the figures stated in the new
Strategic Implementation Programs, will depend on the following

There must be an increase of 547 per cent in processed farm products
from $52.53 million in 2008 to $340 million in 2013. Programmes
undertaken to achieve it will largely depend on the Brunei Halal brand
programme. In the first phase, a total of 50 land plots are being
allocated at the Agro-Technology Farms in Tungku, Gadong. Construction
of a factory is expected to reach $2-5 million a year.

To increase production in the farming sector from $41.3 million in
2008 to $115 million in 2013, it will require an increase in output of
178 per cent. The main commodities in this sector are padi, vegetables
and fruits, in addition to the production of flowers and decorative
plants. The programmes to boost the production in this sector will
largely depend on the success of the programmes that will be undertaken
to increase local farm output and the success of the local fruits
planting campaigns.

To achieve the strategic target; the livestock production must be
increased by 19 per cent from 4131.6 million in 2008 to $157 Million in
2013. Doubling the chicken, meat and eggs production for exports will
produce approximately $200 million, well above the target set for 2013.

These are in the first phase of the medium-term strategy. The second
phase will include review of ‘the first phase achievements where
potential commodities for export will identified.

The current rice production is only at 2.8 per cent sufficiency, the
strategy is to set a target to increase it by 20 per cent in 2010 and
60 per cent in 2015, based on the use of modern padi variety with an
average yield of three-four mt per hectare.

The nation will also make use of or capitalise the Brunei Halal
brand that could propel Brunei products to compete in the international
market. The use of the ‘Brunei Halal’ brand is estimated to contribute
royalty and registration fees. It would help to reach the strategic
target on processed and farm as well as livestock production that is
$350 million in 2013.

The agrifood sector will be a new direction to explore the
development of agribusiness that will enable local products to compete
in the global market place under the flagship of the Brunei Halal
brand, especially looking at the current global Halal market of 1.9
billion people.

Value-added meat production recorded $7.85 million in 200$ compared
to $9.88 million in 2007 while the value added products based on plants
recorded $30.34 million in 2007 compared to $44.68 million in 2008.

Amongst the activities that led to the increase in production were
laboratory and advisory services, quality control steps undertaken,
application of good manufacturing practices (GMP) and introduction of
the HACCP to local producers making them more competitive and as a
result of a more comprehensive data collection for production data.

Among the projects to be taken to reach the strategic target in the
Agri food are consultancy project for the preparation of a master plan
for the development of a food development center, consultancy project
on the development of food processing incubators for local food SMEs of
Brunei Darussalam Phase One, workshop to create roadmap to development
of agrifood activities, maximising the stake of advantage for
agricultural products of Brunei, outsourcing for food analysis
(vitamins) at recognised and accredited analytical laboratories and
consultancy projects on food processing and product development for
local food SMEs. — Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin