Ghanim International Corporation has collected over 500kg of 40 varieties of fruits and vegetables from local farmers and market vendors in Tutong and Belait to be supplied to supermarkets as part of their Buy Local Produce campaign.
Close to 60 vendors dropped off their produce at the Seria wet market and Tutong’s Serambangun over the past two weeks, which Ghanim purchased outright and then sold to supermarkets who either arrived later to pick up or had the items delivered to them.
Ghanim plans to facilitate the drop offs for local vendors every Tuesday in Seria (Belait) and every Thursday in Tutong as marketplaces (tamu) in both districts have been closed since last month as part of measures to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
Ghanim CEO Dr Nur Rahman is encouraging farmers and vendors to contact their hotline 8890020 to notify what their supply capabilities are to allow their products to better marketed to supermarkets. Retail outlets and eateries are also invited to participate in the initiative.
“The three things we really need (from the farmers/vendors); product (type), the volume (amount) for each product and how much price they are expecting, so that our team can negotiate and discuss with the supermarkets,” said Dr Nur.
“Although we are trying to support farmers in districts where the markets are closed (Brunei-Muara markets are still open) this initiative is open to all local farmers and market vendors.”
Produce bought from vendors by Ghanim for less than $200 is paid in full, while larger supply is paid 50% upfront and the remaining 50% the following week.
Ghanim sells the majority of the produce to Hua Ho, Sim Kim Huat, Jaya Hypermart and the Millimewah Group. The products are also sold to eateries and at Ghanim’s kiosk at the Ministry of Finance and Economy’s building.
Second Finance and Economy Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah announced the Buy Local Produce campaign on April 22 to help vendors and farmers mitigate losses caused by the markets’ closure.
Tutong-based farmer Erni Nasriah Hj Abdurrazak said sales has dropped by half since the COVID-19 outbreak, despite their efforts to channel their produce to convenience stores and markets in Brunei-Muara.
The Serambangun market, which is typically only filled to its vendor capacity once a week on Thursday, provides the majority of sales for the district’s fresh produce.
“The main challenge is that when we sell in the market we keep 100% of the sale as opposed to wholesale, where we have to sell as low as 50% of the (retail) price,” said Erni who runs a poultry and vegetable farm near her house in Layong.