The COVID-19 pandemic has created opportunities for local producers due to the disruption in food importation and the retail supply chain caused by restrictions and the closure of factories across the region. Local product sales have increased significantly which has a positive impact on local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and farmers.
Ghanim International Corporation CEO Dr Nur Rahman expressing delight over the elevated demand for local products. He told the Weekend Bulletin, “With the opportunity to expand the presence of local products in the market, we are trying to introduce more products by local SMEs as substitute for imported items in the future.”
“A bruneihalalfoods team has come up with local products that can be substituted for imported items. We don’t know how long the COVID-19 pandemic will continue affecting imports. But going forward, this will be a good time to introduce more local products enabling SMEs to grow,”.
Dr Nur Rahman said due to the COVID-19 situation, the people are unable to travel overseas while the demand for local products has increased.
“We also see this trend in our bruneihalalfoods products where some items have seen a significant rise in sales in the past months. When people see the bruneihalalfoods brand, they know it is a local premium brand from local companies,” he said.
Dr Nur Rahman highlighted one of the challenges by COVID-19 to bruneihalalfoods is a disruption in the exporting of local products to overseas markets.
He said once COVID-19 has been successfully contained, bruneihalalfoods will be able to export again.
“Some products are new and will be introduced to the overseas markets,” he said.
On the ‘Buy Local Produce’ campaign held in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economy, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ghanim International Corporation Sdn Bhd and DARe (Darussalam Entreprise), Dr Nur Rahman said the campaign has been well received.
“We successfully completed the three-month campaign, which started after tamus were forced to temporarily close due to COVID-19,” he said.
The ‘Buy Local Produce’ campaign’s main objective was to ensure the income of local farmers and market vendors would not be affected by the temporary closure. This initiative also helped to stabilise the prices of agricultural produce such as vegetables and fruits, while promoting continuity in agricultural farming locally.
“Through this initiative, Ghanim International and DARe helped market vendors and local farmers to supply to supermarkets, restaurants and the public, Dr Nur Rahman said.
He added, “We would like to continue to carry out this campaign rather than stopping it completely. We believe that we can support local cultivators. We are aware that tamus have already re-opened and wherever we will, we can step in and help the cultivators. Previously, we conducted the campaign twice a week. We now run it once a week. We hope to increase the volume in the future.”