FOS postgraduate students visit Japan

Article by
May Goh Poh Yik, Ak Ajmal Faiz bin Pg Hj Kamaludin,
Terence Tan Jit Loong,Nurul Farhanah binti Haji Abd Hamid

The Japanese Factory Visit Tour was a scholarship programme organised by the ASEAN FOOD industries HUMAN Resource Development Association (AFH) and funded by Japanese-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) 2.0 and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Japan. Brunei took part in the programme from the 4th to 9th of September 2016 which was hosted in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo. Representing Brunei Darussalam, the study tour was attended by Dr Hartini Hj. Mohd Yasin, Siti Nasreyah Ahmed (Officer from Department of Agriculture and Agrifood) and FOS postgraduate students namely, May Goh Poh Yik, Ak Ajmal Faiz bin Pg Hj Kamaludin, Terence Tan Jit Loong and Nurul Farhanah binti Haji Abd Hamid.

The main objective of the programme was to give participants the opportunity to advance their understanding about the food industry and to supplement in-class lectures by providing in-depth knowledge about the high technology food value chains in Japan through the tours and visits to Japanese factories and companies in the three cities. The participants made visits to nine Japanese food factories and companies such as Fuji Oil Company, Takii Seeds Company, Yoshinoya Tokyo factory, Traditional soy sauce brewery ‘Takeoka Shoyu’, Pasona Headquarters (farm & human resource development), Ajinomoto Factory, AEON mall (retailer), Ota vegetable & flower Market and Kokubu food logistics. Aside from these, the participants also visited several Japanese landmarks and tourist attractions.

Participants from UBD and students from Tokyo University of Agriculture in their national costumes at the reception of the final group presentation night.

Final group presentation by the UBD students on the food value chain in Brunei Darussalam and what they have learned from the Japanese factory visit tours.

It was a good opportunity for the participants to learn about the concept of “urban-farming” at the Pasona Group Inc, Tokyo, which have reduced 44% carbon dioxide level annually. Meanwhile, the visits to Kokubu and Yoshinoya allowed participants to witness the advanced system incorporated by the companies to improve and maintain the inventory and cold-chain storage system. It was also interesting to see the auction of vegetables and flowers at the Ota Market where the bidding structure assures the high quality of products and welfare of farmers. The research facilities at Fuji Oil and Takii Seeds Co. also impressed the participants as the companies encouraged innovation, transparency and open-discussion amongst staff by having open-concept laboratories and offices. It was inspiring for the participants as they learnt the marketing techniques adopted by Ajinamoto, Takeoka Shoyu as well as AEON where they have integrated modern ideas into their traditional products. AEON has also demonstrated the importance of maintaining sustainability in the food value chains and how it plays a significant part in the retail industry as well.

Overall, this programme allowed all participants to be exposed to a lot of new ideas and concepts. The participants gave presentations about what they have experienced throughout the programme and also how the knowledge gained can be applied to the food value chain in their own respective countries. The Brunei team sincerely believes that if the above mentioned concepts could be integrated in Brunei’s food value chain, it could not only improve the agriculture and food industry, but also inspire the younger generation to see the potential and thus, be a part of these growing industries.

All participants from B-group countries in their national costumes at the final group presentation conference in Tokyo, with Mr Maruyama, the Deputy Director General of MAFF, the AFH Vice President , organizers, and representatives from the visited companies and factories.

Takeoka Soy Sauce Brewery takes pride in keeping its handmade methods of processing their products in order to preserve the traditional values. One of the steps in their soy sauce making is gravity filtration where they use recyclable artificial cloth as its strainer.