Trade and production: Brunei

Brunei is a small country on the island of Borneo in South East Asia. It is split into two sections, bordered by Malaysia and a coastline with the South China Sea. Brunei imports most of its food. Although the staple foods are fish, chicken and rice, the country also sources beef, lamb, pork and dairy from the global market.

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Brunei has one of the highest Gross Domestic Products (GDP) per capita in the region (data based on Brunei government statistics). With a population of 445,473 (World Bank data 2021), it is a wealthy country. Over 90% of Brunei’s US$14bn GDP comes from oil and gas.

Agriculture is a small part of the overall economy at less than 1% of Gross Value Added (UN data). Brunei depends heavily on imports of agricultural products, with negligible exports of key commodities. Its government is committed to improving self-sufficiency for key products such as rice and chicken and increasing agriculture’s contribution to GDP.

Production, consumption and trade


Brunei is a wealthy nation that imports a significant amount of its food. The main diet is fish, chicken and rice, followed by beef, with lamb eaten less often. Pork consumption is very small and is confined to hospitality and tourism outlets.

Although the Brunei government’s aim is to increase self-sufficiency and to expand the agricultural sector in order to support GDP growth, there may be opportunities in beef, dairy and lamb in this market, although tariffs are already set at 0%.


Beef and buffalo production in Brunei was 3,825 Mt in 2021. Average imports between 2019 and 2021 were 1,957 t. The key suppliers were India and Australia, with a small amount (1 t) from the UK (Compiled by Trade Data Monitor LLC).

Although chicken and fish form the majority of animal protein consumption, beef is a popular meat in Brunei with per capita consumption of about 10.47 kg per year (OECD).

There is currently no import tariff on beef.


Pork production is negligible in Brunei due to the majority of the population being Muslim. However, around 1,793 t is imported to supply the non-Muslim population, foodservice, and the travel and tourism trade (Compiled by Trade Data Monitor LLC).

Sheep meat

Government statistics show goat and sheep meat production in Brunei at 132 t. In addition, Brunei imports 557 t of sheep meat, mainly from Australia, with a very small quantity coming from the UK (Compiled by Trade Data Monitor LLC).

Sheep meat per capita consumption is about 1.38 kg per year (OECD).

There is no tariff on sheep meat imports.


Dairy production is relatively small in Brunei, and imports are significant. Average imports of cheese (2019‒2021) were around 1,180 t (worth £5.7m), butter 778 t (worth £4m) and milk powder (worth £9.6m) (Compiled by Trade Data Monitor LLC).

The main source countries for dairy imports are Malaysia, Australia, Singapore and New Zealand. The UK supplies a small quantity, mainly milk powders, although this has reduced in recent years.

Again, due to Brunei’s dependence on imports, there is no tariff for dairy products.

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