BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – With exports of its bruneihalalfoods brand halted due to the global pandemic, Ghanim International Corporation is looking to fill Brunei’s demand for food imports.

The state-owned enterprise on Thursday signed an agreement with Hamitan Marketing to distribute bruneihalalfoods products to over 500 retail outlets nationwide.

The move means that Ghanim will now focus its business on the Brunei market, with global exports still experiencing supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19.

As businesses try to find a way to adjust to operating in a “new normal”, Ghanim CEO Dr Nur Rahman expressed hope that the distributor agreement would take bruneihalalfoods to “new heights”.

“COVID-19 has significantly challenged businesses globally including Ghanim as export is a significant business activity.

“We have had to navigate around the impact of country lockdowns, travel restrictions and logistical limitations – forcing us to adjust our business priorities moving forward,” he said.

Until the COVID-19 outbreak, the company was exporting a variety of products to markets such as China and Singapore, ranging from fresh meat and seafood to processed food, including the recently launched Serenitea.

But with the pandemic also affecting food imports to Brunei, Ghanim saw a chance to fill local demand.

“This opens up the opportunity for Brunei-made products to fill the gap,” Dr Nur said. “However, we must do this hastily especially as Brunei has long-relied on imports.”

Ghanim CEO Dr Nur Rahman (2L) and Hamitan Marketing managing director KH Lau (2R) sign a distributor agreement, while Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy Dato Dr Hj Abdul Manaf (C) looks on. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar/The Scoop

Over the years, Ghanim has developed new products under the bruneihalalfoods brand in partnership with local MSMEs, and has been working with local distributor the Malar Setia Group since 2015.

With just a few local suppliers in 2016, bruneihalalfoods is now stocked in over 80 retail outlets.

Hamitan Marketing was appointed the second local distributor of bruneihalalfoods, in a bid to bring stronger visibility and wider distribution of the manufacturer’s growing product range. 

Hamitan also imports and distributes a number of consumer packaged goods, pharmaceuticals and health and beauty products from brands across Southeast Asia, USA, Australia and Europe.

With two local distributors, Dr Nur said Ghanim will be able to focus its efforts on developing a wider product range to meet consumer demand.

“We are working tirelessly to meet bruneihalalfoods’ ambitious goal of becoming an iconic halal brand… And it is paramount to be stronger than ever in our home base, Brunei.”