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Sabah coffee cooperative aims at foreign markets including Brunei

KOTA KINABALU (BERNAMA) – Malaysia’s Koperasi Usahawan Peniaga Inanam Bhd (KoUPIO) wants to expand the market of ‘Coffee Cactus’, which is the first product produced by the cooperative, overseas.

KoUPIO chairman Datin Esther Sikayun said that beside marketing the product in Kuala Lumpur, the cooperative intends to expand the market potential of Coffee Cactus to countries such as Singapore, Brunei and China.

She is optimistic that Coffee Cactus will be able to expand its wings due to the potential and uniqueness of the product that is worked on by its 25 members.

“Coffee Cactus is our best project just launched and will be marketed. Our goal is to ensure that all members of the cooperative benefit from its sales.

“We have also discussed with the Malaysia Co-operative Societies Commission (SKM) and the agency will support us to help market it to other cooperatives that have retail stores, in addition to using our products in each of their programmes,” she told Bernama during the launch of the Coffee Cactus product by Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Ewon Benedick in conjunction with the promotion programme for cooperatives in the Sepanggar parliamentary district in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Esther said her cooperative chose the coffee as its first product because the beverage was very popular, with added value as a coffee blend between robusta coffee and the prickly pear cactus fruit.

The idea then came in the form of a three-in-one mixed coffee daily drink packet so that it can be taken anytime and anywhere.

Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Ewon Benedick and Koperasi Usahawan Peniaga Inanam Bhd chairman Datin Esther Sikayun at the product launch. PHOTO: BERNAMA

Esther said, among other things, Coffee Cactus will refresh the body, reduce cholesterol and as an antioxidant.

She said her cooperative will collaborate with University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) to produce essential oils based on fragrant lemongrass as its next product.

“Our members have planted fragrant lemongrass to be used as raw material that will be provided to UMS to produce the essential oil,” she said. Meanwhile, to encourage KoUPIO’s initiative to start planting fragrant lemongrass for that purpose, Ewon agreed to give a special allocation of MYR20,000 at the beginning of next year for the cooperative to implement the idea among its members and residents around Inanam.

Ewon is confident that such initiatives will help people to cultivate their land more productively, thereby bringing them out of the poverty circle.

The minister also approved the allocation of MYR20,000 under the Product Development Scheme by SKM to develop the Coffee Cactus product including in aspects of labelling, packaging and promotion.

Ewon also encouraged the residents of the Sepanggar Parliament district and the Inanam state constituency to set up cooperatives.

So far, he said, a total of 81 cooperatives are registered in the Sepanggar district, with 40 cooperatives in the Inanam constituency.

“I notice the Inanam area also has potential and is suitable for carrying out cooperative activities. For example, Koperasi Desa Cinta Kobuni Bhd in Kampung Kobuni carries out tourism-related activities such as homestay, hiking and van rental.

“Activities in the community will not only provide employment opportunities for local residents but also introduce the uniqueness of a district or village,” he said.