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The Fowl Story - Another Kind
||The Halal Journal,
January 2005 issue
Time and tide waits for no man. When it comes
to business, Prima Agri-Products Sdn Bhd (Prima Agri), Malaysian
leading producer of delicatessen fare, knows what it means to
be prompt. Entering the EU market is as serendipitous as entering
the proverbial Ali Baba's cavern.
Established in 1987, Prima Agri started exporting processed poultry products in the later
half of 2002 after receiving approval from the EC. Starting
with a modest delivery of about four containers a month to the
EU. According to MITI, about 70 per cent of their products are
for domestic market and the balance for export to countries
like the EU, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The EU, which has a quota of 9,000 metric ton of raw poultry
produces, has a per capita meat consumption of 8 kilogram per
person for delicatessen products.
"And we are looking at
20 million Muslims out of 370 million total EU populations Combine
these figures with their per capita meat-consumption and their
high purchasing power," says Ahmad Nadzer Idris, Prima
Agri's general manager. "and you have a good market".
His good market is actually making turnover of more than RM
40 million annually -and it is certainly waiting for no man.
However, Prima Agri's story is far from being an overnight success.
"It is totally a new experience for DVS and MITI,"
says a poised Ahmad Nadzer when talking about Malaysian government's
support in aiding Prima Agri to obtain and export green light
from the EU.
"We must work together. From his experience
applicants should be more involved and enterprising when dealing
with the matters. "There should be follow-ups. If you are
not perseverant enough, you will end up blaming others for not
being cooperative," he says.
"It took us five years (to obtain the EC's approval),"
claims Ahmad Nadzer, attributing the delay to application documents
circulating between DVS in Malaysia and MATRADE's office in
Brussels. He even described the entire process as 'tedious'
because Prima Agri had to submit their application four times
due to 'changes of regulations and import requirements from
the EU' amongst other reasons.
Nonetheless, he is confident
that new applications will take less than a year to be approved.
"Ours take longer because we were the first applicant (from
Malaysia)," he says. "We had to prove that we have
a good manufacturing practice (GMP)," he says. A GMP is
a system to ensure that products are consistently produced and
controlled according to quality standards.
He says that one can have a different opinion on whether the
Malaysian government is fully supporting the industry but "the
intention to export should come from the industry". "How
can our poultry producers comply to international standards
when they do not even have a GMP certificate?" he asks.
"If they think that their standard is meant for locals,
they will always remain local-oriented." Ahmad Nadzer gives
Thai poultry producers as an example of meeting export requirements.
"Our local skinless, boneless poultry producers charge
between RM 8.50 to RM 9".
Thailand offers the same product
to Malaysia for RM 5. What does it say about Malaysia poultry
producers?" (They) are not competitive!" says Ahmad
Prima Agri's requirements for the export of poultry products
to the EU may be less stringent than a company requesting to
export fresh and frozen.