Fears over food shortages led to a rise in the consumption of locally grown fruit and vegetables since the first COVID-19 case was announced in Brunei.
To keep up with the surge, local farmers are attempting to boost production, while urging consumers not to engage in panic buying, as there is plenty of stock available.
Manager of Hua Ho Agricultural Farm at Agricultural Development Area (KKP) Sibongkok in Kampong Masin Lau How Teck said, “Last Monday, we began full production. We can store vegetables for up to two weeks in the chillers, so there is more than enough to go around.”
He added, “When the panic buying started, I had four tonnes of vegetables in my cold storage, which was gone in three days. Luckily, we were producing more kangkong (water spinach) and bayam (Chinese spinach), but even those sold out quickly.”
Owner of Perusahaan Zaias Haji Asmali bin Haji Mohamad told the Bulletin, “The current demand for vegetables has gone up from previous months.”
Haji Asmali is trying to boost the vegetable production at his farm, but admits that it would take time to meet the high market demand, which he attributes to the lack of imported items.
“Without dine-in services at restaurants, many are cooking at home, so vegetables have become a sought-after produce,” he said. “Locally farmed vegetables have been selling well since the announcement of the first COVID-19 case. However, my farm production has been low due to the dry weather in the previous month. I am hoping for some rain to meet the market demand.”