Buoyed by a fresh new look, PDS Abattoir is in the midst of surging its operations forward, hoping to cement its status as a leading halal accredited facility by breaking through the export market with eyes already set on the Middle East.
PDS, which was established in 1998, has had more than 20 years of experience in the agribusiness industry, however with the recent brand refresh and the launch of its new feedlot facility last month, the sultanate’s largest cattle abattoir is rearing to up its game.
According to PDS General Manager, Hj Sabirin Othman, the establishment of PDS’ new facility was nothing short of revolutionary because not only did it transform the company’s core operation but it introduced a new form of animal feeding operation for the country.
From importing ready-for-slaughter cattle to the importation and fattening of feeder cattle, PDS is looking at a “whole new operation” all in the name of expanding its holding capacity for cattle, from the previous 800 heads to the present 2,800 heads.
The feedlot facility however will undergo two more phases in the future, further expanding its holding capacity to 6,800 heads, which will be more than enough to not only serve the domestic market but the export market as well, Hj Sabirin explained.
In tandem with the increased holding capacity, PDS has also been expanding other areas of its operation including slaughtering, production and delivery, he added, which will in part, contribute towards food self-sufficiency and reducing the country’s dependence on frozen and chilled imported meat.
“All these things have to happen in tandem because they are also done in preparation for the export market, which has always been part of the intention; to be in a dominant position in the local market and to go beyond Brunei and be a major player in the international Halal food market,” he continued.
Even with these aspirations, he admitted the pandemic may have otherwise “slowed down” this initiative as he noted how there were already prior discussions with importing countries which were hampered by the travelling restrictions.
Nevertheless, PDS is keen on venturing outside of the country, but heavy considerations must be made, said the general manager, adding that the company is setting its eyes towards the regional market and the Middle East, hoping to capitalise on the Brunei Halal logo.
“We are realistic in our selection of countries (because) what we are looking for are consistent orders and long term commitments (but again) in order to achieve that, we must go back and look at our own capacity,” he said.
“Furthermore, most international buyers would require audits and part of that would include auditing your staff, your certification and your capacity, so we have all these things to increase, we must be fully integrated,” he added.
At present, PDS are Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) certified, but Hj Sabirin expressed hopes of expanding their certifications to meet international standards of importing countries.
“Once the feedlot project reaches its second stage, we seriously have to start exporting, let alone once we reach the third, where at that point we would have gone beyond Brunei’s consumption needs,” continued Hj Sabirin.
Outside of the company’s aspirations to expand its reach beyond Brunei’s borders, the general manager maintained that PDS remains focused on its responsibility of covering the national demand for beef and other processed products during this pandemic period.
“One of our challenges right now lies in trying to cover shortages on certain imported processed products so on that front, we have had to increase our production of beef patties, nuggets, sausages and etc because that is the rising trend at the moment,” he explained.
Understandably, the rise in demand has pushed PDS’ processing operations towards the next level, yet, having recently upgraded their machinery, PDS is able to produce larger quantity of products, paving the way for a new service; contract manufacturing.
“We want to focus on contract manufacturing where we are contracted to produce food products for other brands and naturally, as this service gets new customers, it will open the country up to new products, whether they are under our brand or another’s,” he said.
“Of course we are looking at the local market first, but in the future, we hope to expand this service to international buyers,” he added.
Ultimately, the expansion and consolidation of PDS’ key operations are intended to help PDS maintain its focus of providing quality and value to its customers by producing high quality products.
All these, he said, would support PDS’ secondary objectives of contributing to the development of the local workforce, the growth of the country’s agribusiness and by venturing into exports, the company hopes to enhance Brunei’s reputation in the international Halal food industry.
Speaking on the company’s refreshed look, Hj Sabirin said that it signals the company’s intention to keep PDS’ name relevant and in line with the changes of the modern era and market.
“Over the years, PDS has been relatively passive in the social media space. Going forward, we intend to use social media to position ourselves closer and to remain connected to all of our customers,” he said.
“We want to be close to our customers, to have that interaction and to have that platform to respond to them. Basically, we want to be responsible, to be accountable, and to highlight our customers’ rights, we want to be seen as dynamic,” Hj Sabirin added.
THE BRUNEIAN | TUTONG