File photo of fresh produce at a local farm. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Royal Brunei Catering (RBC) will now source their raw cooking ingredients from local farm operators in a bid to support the government’s move towards strengthening Brunei’s agricultural industry.

The company recently inked a contractual purchasing agreement to procure fruits and vegetables from seven companies in a signing ceremony held at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT).

The strategic partnership will see Koperasi Pengusaha Sayur Berhad, Bioprop Sdn Bhd, T16 Farm, Juja enterprise, Syarikat Perniagaan Hj Sapar, RZ Prisma and the Orchid Vegetable Mart supplying locally grown fruits and vegetables for RBC and all its restaurants.

File photo of fresh produce at a local farm. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

General Manager Hj Jeff Hardiman Dato Paduka Hj Danial who was signing on behalf of RBC said in an interview that with the agreement, the food and beverage firm is supporting local agriculturists by providing them a market platform.

“We have really big volumes. Prior to this, we would usually go to a few distributors who can supply us (the ingredients) in one go. It was for the sake of convenience, but it wasn’t economical”, he said.

According to Hj Jeff, RBC serves around three to five thousand meals in a day, with ingredients needing to be distributed to its numerous subsidiaries such as Anjung Saujana and Horizons Seafood as well as its catering services to Royal Brunei Airlines and local hospitals.

General Manager of RBC, Hj Jeff Hardiman Dato Paduka Hj Danial (L) and MPRT Minister YB Dato Hj Ali (C). Image: Wardi Wasil

He said that it was more cost-effective for RBC to obtain ingredients directly from local farmers as it would eliminate the middleman or wholesaler where the prices are marked up.

“It is a win for us and a win for them (farmers), we also want to work closely with local farmers because it’s good for the community, so it’s a win in every aspect”.

Hj Jeff added that the signing of the agreement is a first step as RBC heads towards a farm-to-table model featuring fresh and quality local ingredients in their meals anticipating more agreements to be made in the future.

File photo of fresh produce at a local farm. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

“We still have more than 200 vegetables and herbs (to procure locally) which we’ll be looking for in the next phase”.

The Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA), he added, has been very helpful in facilitating business matching opportunities between RBC and local farms, providing RBC with recommendations of potential partners in the local agriculture industry.

Meanwhile, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Apong, in an interview, encouraged more players in the hospitality sector to create partnerships and procure ingredients from local farms.

“Our farmers can produce that are guaranteed fresh and safe to consume because we monitor their practices consistently to ensure that there no excess in terms of chemical input”.

General Manager of RBC Hj Jeff Hardiman Dato Paduka Hj Danial (7th L) and MPRT Minister YB Dato Hj Ali (7th R) in a group photo with local farm representatives as well as ministry officials. Image: Wardi Wasil

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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