Viable SMEs to get help pursuing exports

National 1 minute, 32 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) plans to extend three-year assistance to select small and medium enterprises in obtaining a globally accepted food safety seal that will ease their entry to the world market.

"We are selecting SMEs for those who have the potential to export," said Tutie Safwati Omar, head of the ministry's certification section. Getting help in food safety certification "is good for our local SMEs, it opens up the market for them", she said in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.

Those selected will receive assistance for three years in getting the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification as well as in maintaining compliance with the system's set of safety guidelines.

"The HACCP recognition is a requirement nowadays for (importing) countries, our local food products need to be certified according to certain standards to enable our SMEs to start exporting," Tutie Safwati said.

Currently there are at least four Brunei companies that got HACCP certification through MIPR's assistance programme offered since 2005. These are: PDS Meat Industry, PDS Abbatoir, Semaun Seafood company and Goldenchick company.

The ministry provides assistance in the first three years of attaining the certification. Help includes consultation and audit services from certification bodies.

Many companies are interested in obtaining the food safety seal but some have difficulty meeting the requirements while others find it costly to maintain the mandatory preconditions of HACCP certification, Tutie Safwati said.

HACCP is a systematic preventive way to food and pharmaceutical safety that relies on the identification of physical, chemical and biological hazards as means of prevention rather than finished product inspection.

There are plans of introducing next year another form of certification, the ISO 22000, a standard developed by the International Standards Organization that deals with food safety, the ministry official said.

The Brunei Times