File photo: Rows of ‘sawi manis’ grown at a farm in Tutong. Image: The Bruneian

Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) has introduced the ‘Buy Local Produce’ campaign to support vendors and farmers affected by the temporary closure of the Tutong and Belait open-air markets due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Through the campaign, Ghanim International Corporation (GIC) and Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) will be assisting vendors and local farmers supply produce to supermarkets, restaurants and the public to help sustain their income.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Finance and Economy Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah in a press conference said that 54 vendors and farmers from Tutong and Belait districts along with four supermarket chains have shown interest to participate in the campaign.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Finance and Economy Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah during a press conference at the Ministry of Health. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

“This is part of our effort in ensuring farmers continue to grow their crops… Buyers from supermarkets and restaurants are also very supportive (of the campaign), and there are more vendors coming forward,” continued the minister.

He also said that the initiative will also ensure price stability of agricultural products such as fruits and vegetables, as well as acting as a means to encourage the continuous cultivation of these crops.

The new campaign which was also initiated in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs is part of the government’s strategy to encourage more local production of agricultural crops, hoping it would eventually reduce the country’s agricultural imports.

File photo: Some of the fresh produce harvested from a local farm. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

“I have had some conversations with the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism (and) at the moment, we do have quite a lot of farmers producing fruits (however) on the vegetable side we can do better,” he said.

The finance minister also hoped that with this campaign, demand from supermarkets and eateries can be met with supplies from local vendors and growers.

“We cannot produce all varieties of agriculture however, so naturally there will still be imports. The question is whether we will be able to substitute a lot of these imports with local produce… because that is what we would like to see in the long run,” concluded YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin.

For more information, the public can contact GIC at 8890020.

File photo: A worker seen carrying out routine rounds amongst the rows of chillies at Eco Nadi farm. Image: The Bruneian

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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