Malaysian growers move online during COVID-19 pandemic

Malaysian farmers have gone online to sell their produce instead of disposing of tons of fresh fruit and vegetables every day after Malaysia imposed a Movement Control Order (MCO) in March to limit the spread of coronavirus in the country. Several farmers told Arab News on Thursday that they have reported a steady increase in sales.

“During the MCO, our sales became much higher than before as everybody is going online now. A lot of people do not want to go to the supermarket and would rather receive their groceries at home and pay a small delivery fee,” said Michael Simon, an organic farmer.

He added that farmers were facilitated by customers who were looking for fresh and organic products and didn’t want to queue up in supermarkets due to social distancing rules.

The pandemic led to a major change in consumer behavior for many Malaysians who, before the lockdown on March 18, would throng to open-air wet markets where rows of neatly lined stalls would lure buyers with boxes of locally harvested fresh fish, fruit and vegetables on display.

There were spoilt for choice, with growers unboxing freshly plucked brinjals, tomatoes, cabbages, snake beans and other Asian greens by the dozen.

But with the MCO in place, several farmers from Malaysia’s hilly regions said they were forced to throw away tons of freshly harvested vegetables.

To help growers make a living during the lockdown, Han and other local activists from Penang state in northwest Malaysia introduced them to e-commerce portals where they discovered a new way to do business, by selling directly from store to door.

Source: arabnews.com