Pure Fresh and Ghanim to invest $400 million to develop Brunei’s aquaculture exports

By the end of 2019, the partnership will process more than 5,000 tonnes of seafood - mostly blue shrimp - with China as the main export market

Second Finance Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew (3rd L) witnessing the signing between Ghanim and Pure Fresh in a ceremony held at the Empire Hotel & Country Club.

Hong Kong’s Pure Fresh and state-owned Ghanim International Corporation will be investing $400 million over five years to develop a “complete” supply chain for aquaculture in Brunei for export – with blue shrimp as their flagship product.

Last Thursday, both companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to outline their partnership to expand production, which includes adding another processing centre in Serasa as well as their own hatchery and breeding stations for blue shrimp on land and over the sea.

CEO of Ghanim Dr. Nur Rahman said frozen blue shrimp – jointly branded under Ghanim’s bruneihalalfoods and Pure Fresh – will be the main export, with China as the main target market.

At present, the collaboration – based at the Muara fish landing complex – sees the two companies export one to two 40 ft. containers monthly, which will be increased to eight to 10 containers a month under their new targets.

By the end of 2019, they are projected to process at least 5,000 tonnes of seafood annually with their new Serasa facility.

Pure Fresh director Eyan Ou says they have a direct retail base five million through their own stores. Their distribution also includes online platforms such as Alibaba, Jing Dong as well as other offline stores.

Dr. Nur explained that the $400 million to develop their aquaculture supply chain in phases includes specialized cold-storage containers, a laboratory for research and testing and engaging more local fish farmers to increase their raw supply.

He said their bottom line is establishing consistency in blue shrimp quality and output.

“Even with us setting up our own (production/farming of blue shrimp) it will not be enough to cater to demand,” said Dr. Nur. “We need more supply for blue shrimp for local farms (as well).. Whatever you can grow, small or big, we will take.”

Although China’s appetite for seafood is well established, Eyan believes that the novelty of blue shrimp – which has yet to reach mass consumption – represents a unique business opportunity.

“Most of the seafood and fish varieties, the China market is already familiar with,” said Eyan. “But the blue shrimp is still quite new – but the response from the initial (batches) is very positive. This means we are in a position to lead and create new demand for a product.”

Eyan added that marketing under buneihalalfoods in China also gives the product legitimacy as being a “national brand”, while its halal certification opens up opportunities in the future to export to Muslim markets.

Aside from frozen blue shrimp, other processed products will be developed, said Dr. Nur. An early success for bruneihalalfoods are their blue shrimp crackers, which Pure Fresh is currently supplying to 14 outlets in Macau.