More help needed to prepare local products for export

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Some of the products on display at the Brunei Halal Foods booth at the Brunei Halal showcase at ICC on 11/08/18. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Waqiuddin Rajak
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

Authorities should think of more ways to assist businesses to be internationally certified in order to help bring their products to international markets, said a certification expert.

Bureau Veritas’ Certification Manager Ram M Desai stressed on the importance of accreditation for local companies that wish to export their products, as overseas market players now require businesses to be specifically accredited before they can enter their markets.

Desai said common certifications include ISO 9001 for quality management, and ISO 22000 for food safety management system (FSMS), which are specifically given to food and beverage (F&B) producers.

“Especially for F&B businesses, they can easily obtain Halal certificates if they could also be recognised in Hazard Analysis and Critical Point (HACCP) practices,” he added.

In that light, Desai (pictured) suggested for regulatory bodies to look into these requirements and develop plans around them, especially in starting more platforms to expose entrepreneurs to them.

In turn, the certification manager said, this will help Brunei develop more competent people to help foster growth amongst local businesses.

Desai, who has been with Bureau Veritas since 2010, was speaking on the sidelines of Darussalam Enterprise’s (DARe) dialogue last week.

He was invited to speak on the importance of certifications and how it could help improve export capabilities amongst businesses, particularly for F&B producers.

Desai praised DARe’s effort to start a standard consultancy programme (SCP), an iniative aimed at boosting export capabilities amongst local businesses.

He said the SCP could be crucial in improving Brunei’s presence in the international market.

“It is also because Brunei currently doesn’t have a regulatory requirement for businesses to be internationally certified and maybe this is due to the lack of exports,” added Desai.

Some of those who attended the briefing at the DnT building Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

While there are 60 local companies recognised for their quality management systems, only five of them are certified for having standardised FSMS, according to Desai.

THe majority of the 60 companies are importers who are only certified due to the requirements set by their overseas suppliers.

“When it comes to local consumption we are still low on certification. People need assurance that their food production is safe and standardised, which is reflected through the certification they have obtained,” Desai said.

“And all stakeholders, starting from the supply chain, should be aware of this so everyone could fall in line with the international requirements.

“By doing this, they can set their own benchmark and work their way towards future growth, particularly in increasing the number of certified companies and exports overseas,” he added.

The Bruneian