Starting a business from scratch is difficult for most but with a background as a chartered accountant handling over 500 small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Hj Bakar Hj Berudin already had a floor plan in mind.
Inspired to start his own venture, he left the corporate life at 50 years old and started a poultry business rearing chicken from 2003 to 2010 under BHB Enterprise.
Rough start, fruitful journey
It was not an easy decade with competition from the likes of large poultry businesses in the country such as Soon Lee, Hua Ho and Ideal.
Despite that, he continued to raise chickens for meat and eggs on a two-and-a-half-hectare plot leased by the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA), heeding His Majesty’s call to diversify away from the oil and gas sector.
But after struggling to make a dent, Hj Bakar saw another window of opportunity to expand his business; rearing ducks and cashing in on the salted egg craze.
This then led to the beginning of a fruitful journey.
Started small, made it big
For the initial trial, the entrepreneur started with raising 35 ducks to gauge how much eggs could be produced in a day.
“Since our main produce is duck eggs, we wanted to test the salted egg market, see the community’s response towards it and whether it was feasible,” said Hj Bakar.
“In one year, we saw a good opportunity that it could expand and that was the beginning.”
In 2015, Hj Bakar grew the business even further with a total of 1000 ducks that were active in producing 600 to 1,500 eggs daily.
With hard work and perseverance, the farm accommodated 3000 ducks that produced an average of 2000 eggs daily.
The variety of ducks found in the farm includes local breeds, Muscovy, Peking, Manila and soon, Campbell ducks.
Hj Bakar also breeds Turkey as well as geese to cater to customers during festive seasons.
Fresh products, good quality
Riding on another niche, BHB Enterprise ventured into the market of selling Ayam Kampung or free-range chicken.
“We saw another opportunity and decided to venture it, Alhamdulillah it’s gone well,” said Hj Bakar.
As of December last year, 1000 free-range chickens were ready to produce eggs which will result in 1000 to 2000 chickens to be slaughtered.
“In a month, 150 to 180 eggs would be produced in a day totalling to about six to seven trays – depending on the condition, weather, and their stress levels.”
Around 60 to 80 free-range chicken meat, along with the duck eggs are sold at Tamu Kianggeh once a week as early as 5 to 6 am, said Hj Bakar, adding, “Our products would already be sold out by 7 or 8am.”
A majority of the duck eggs are sold at supermarket Sim Kim Huat while some are available at the farm itself.
“Some customers prefer to buy it directly from us and that includes duck and free-range chicken meat.”
From the beginning until the finished product, the process is long, according to Hj Bakar.
“Particularly for the duck and chickens, it starts from the growth of the ducklings and chicks, laying eggs, processing them (salting the duck eggs) to hatching them.”
Curing or the process of preserving the eggs by salting takes over a week, he shared.
“The eggs are soaked in a huge container that is filled with salt solution and it is placed in a cool dry place while it cures.”
After curing, the eggs are cleaned, dried and packed into either small or big trays.
Duck, chicken and turkey meat
With a slaughterhouse on-site, customers can expect fresh meat from BHB Enterprise which can be bought either at the farm itself or Tamu Kianggeh.
“Slaughtering takes place twice a week performed by myself or my staff. We would slaughter about 60 to 80 chicken meat at one time, have them cleaned and packed to sell.”
For duck and turkey meat, slaughtering takes place upon request.
One of the main challenges BHB Enterprise endured in the beginning was competition with large poultry corporations.
“When it came to the duck business, there was steady growth but in 2018, we had problems in terms of food, ducklings and support which affected egg production.”
“Since then we had difficulty acquiring healthy ducklings,” he added.
Despite the challenges, Hj Bakar is looking into other options to ensure steady production.
“When it comes to free-range chicken meat, we are also seeing a decrease due to several factors which is a challenge as at the moment, the demand is exceeding the supply.”
“However our business is still going well, we’re just hoping we can meet the demand in a couple of years,” added Hj Bakar.
The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN