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Liam O’Callaghan

BY LIAM O’CALLAGHAN

China on the horizon for Brunei melons

Superfish Growers is one company looking to make the most of Brunei's new access to China for melons

China on the horizon for Brunei melons

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A new protocol allowing the Brunei to export melons to China has finally granted muskmelon grower-exporter, Superfish Growers, the opportunity to supply its target market.

At the end of 2019, China and Brunei agreed on the phytosanitary requirements for the export of melons from Brunei to China.

According to a Biz Brunei report, this agreement was welcomed by Brunei-based, Superfish Growers, which is already in contact with Chinese companies.

Lee Wei Sheng, Co-founder and chief technology officer of Superfish, told Biz Brunei the company is hoping to work with Pagoda to export muskmelons in 2020 after the Chinese retailer indicated it “easily absorb” 5,000 tonnes of muskmelon annually.

“This volume (5,000 to 6,000 tonnes) will require 50 greenhouses,” said Lee told Biz Brunei.

“The demand (from China’s side) has exceeded our expectations, and we need to be more aggressive in growing our production. To meet it, we are setting a target of building ten new greenhouses (annually) over the next five years.”

To reach 50 greenhouses Superfish will have to substantially increase its previous plans for nine greenhouses.

This is an increase that could be accommodated at the company’s site at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism’s Bio-Innovation Corridor in Tungku, Lee said.

At least half of these 50 greenhouses would be open to investors and sub-leasing for contract farmers

While Superfish is already growing and exporting muskmelons to a number of countries, it expects China will account for 80 per cent of its sales in future.

“Although we have begun exporting to Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong, our main target for export has always been China as it is the market with the most demand, where our melons can be the most competitive,” said Lee.

“However, there were some challenges in getting the certifications and requirements to export to China. The government-to-government linkages have enabled us to have a clear understanding of what is needed and how we can proceed.”

 

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