By Nashir Mansor
KOTA KINABALU, April 27 (Bernama) -- Misde Sipin's banana crisps used to be packed in plain plastic bags and sold at stalls in the neighbourhood. Now it has penetrated supermarkets in not only Sabah and Sarawak but the peninsula as well, thanks to Fama (the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority).
Misde, 43, of Kampung Ranggu in Tawau, has now become a regular supplier to the Giant supermarket chain as well as the Pasaraya Mydin group of stores.
This is just one example of how Fama has helped rural entrepreneurs like Misde add value to their products. His "Kerepek Pisang Ranggu" has high quality packaging, on par with other branded food products on supermarket shelves.
"Last month we bought about 300 kg of banana crisps from Misde for re-marketing, giving him an income of RM5,000," Fama Sabah director Ibrahim Mahmood told Bernama here today.
The banana crisps are among several Sabah traditional food products which will be showcased at the state-level Clients Day of the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry on Sunday at Centre Point here.
Taking part are 12 agencies and departments under the ministry including Bank Pertanian, the Fisheries Department, the Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia (LKIM), the Agriculture Department and the Veterinary Services Department.
The event will act as a one-stop centre for all those who need to be in touch with the ministry as well as its departments and agencies.
"We are trying to promote as many as possible of Sabah's food and agricultural products as well as traditional cookies so that they can enter markets not only throughout the country but are even exported," said Ibrahim.
Presently, he said, Fama is marketing five of Sabah's traditional food products by adding value not only in terms of packaging but also in product quality.
The other four are kuih cincin, amplang, kuih lidah and belacan Papar.
Ibrahim also disclosed that Fama is discussing with businessmen in Brunei Darussalam and Singapore on marketing the products in those markets.
Meanwhile, 118 farmers from Ranau, Kundasang, Tenom, Kota Marudu and Tambunan are benefiting from Fama's contract farming scheme which provides an alternative marketing scheme for them.
Their produce, such as highland vegetables, ginger and fruits especially pomelo, are already being marketed in Kuala Lumpur and Johor.
"We hope farmers and small and medium entrepreneurs will take this opportunity (Clients Day) to learn and gain advice on how to develop their ventures," Ibrahim said.