VCO Brunei to expand into pineapple products

National 2 minutes, 36 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

LOCAL virgin coconut oil producer VCO Brunei under Syarikat Wira Bina is planning to expand its business by offering pineapple products.

In an interview with the media yesterday, Hjh Asnah Hj Ibrahim said they recently began cultivating pineapples to help sustain her family’s coconut products business.

“It’s still new. We just started cultivating pineapples about three months ago with some advice from the agriculture department,” she said.

She said Syarikat Wira Bina has plans to produce pineapple food products similar to her coconut oil products.

“We have plans to come up with products such as pineapple jams in the near future, and we’ll see from there,” she said.

Hjh Asnah also highlighted some of the challenges of being a virgin coconut oil producer, noting that there is a lack of supply of matured coconuts.

Her daughter, Nimewirnah Hj Hanafi, who also helps run the family’s business, said the lack of matured coconuts has hampered their virgin oil production.

“In terms of the challenges, there’s a lot. On the operation side, the first thing is that we’re still in the process of looking for the supply of raw materials. That’s the most important ingredient. If we don’t have the supply, we can’t produce,” she said.

Nimewirnah, who left her job to help with the family business, said they produce virgin coconut oil twice a month for local fixed buyers and shops. Every month, they normally produce about 46 litres of virgin coconut oil from 400 matured coconuts.

She noted that the company makes around $2,000 monthly, depending on the supply of coconuts.

Nimewirnah said they receive the matured coconuts from people who take their own initiative to supply them.

“They usually come here and sell the coconuts. They only come to us if there are coconuts. If not, then we don’t get any,” she said.

Nimewirnah said the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism has approached them to offer assistance in finding coconut suppliers, adding that VCO Brunei has received a quotation from a company in Thailand to supply coconuts but they’re ‘putting that on hold’.

A company from Singapore has also approached them to buy their products, but she said VCO Brunei isn’t ready to entertain overseas interest as they don’t even have enough supplies for the local market.

VCO Brunei currently produces 34 kinds of coconut products including skincare items under Syarikat Wira Bina. Of these, 24 are selling well.

Nimewirnah said it takes around half a day to process the virgin coconut oil as it takes time to manually clean the remaining strands of husk from the shell and grate the coconut.

She said the fruit is then processed using their semi-auto pressing machine supplied by the government.

Nimewirnah advised people interested in entrepreneurship to make sure they’re willing to work hard in order to make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality.

“You have to take the risk and be willing to work very hard. It’s difficult. When I first quit my job, it was hard, but it worked out in the end.”

The Brunei Times