Chief Technician and Co-Founder of Melts Willy Lee preparing Japanese muskmelon products at the Melts booth during the Brunei International Flower Show 2019 at Rimba Garden Central recently. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Superfish Growers wants to be the largest producer of Japanese premium muskmelons in Southeast Asia, hoping to put Brunei on the map with its newly introduced product brand, Melts.

Chief Technician and Co-founder of Superfish Growers Willy Lee said that their current capacity stands at around 600 tonnes per year, grown from five greenhouses.

One greenhouse has about 11,000 stalks and produces 15 to 18 tonnes per month.

“We will be building more greenhouses, targeting 27 within the next two years, and we are aiming to produce around 1,800 to 2,000 tonnes of Japanese muskmelons per year,” he said on the sidelines of the recent launching ceremony of Brunei International Flower Show 2019 (BIFS).

Japanese muskmelon products at the Melts booth during the Brunei International Flower Show 2019 at Rimba Garden Central recently. Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

The muskmelon producer has already exported to Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, and is setting its sight towards China having engaged with Chinese fruit retail giant, Pagoda which has more than 3,700 stores and 23 warehouses in over 70 cities.

“It’s a big market and they can actually import most of our produce,” Lee said, adding that Superfish Growers’ aim of having 27 greenhouses would allow it to become the region’s biggest producer of the premium fruit which can meet the Chinese market. 

Talking on the company’s new branding Melts, Lee said that it reflects the quality of their product.

Guests having a look at Japanese muskmelon products at the Melts booth during the Brunei International Flower Show 2019 at Rimba Garden Central recently. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

“Because our Japanese muskmelon actually melts in your mouth while being very flavourful,” he said.

According to Lee, Melts melons set itself apart from melons that are currently in the market by adopting artisan methods of agriculture developed in Japan, with a standard of procedure that only allows one fruit to grow per stalk, paying particular attention to the netting that is formed around the fruit. 

Lee added that netting is the most important aspect of the fruit because it indicates the volume of fertilizer and water the fruit receives.

Chief Technician and Co-Founder of Superfish Growers Willy Lee speaking to The Bruneian at the Melts booth during the Brunei International Flower Show 2019 at Rimba Garden Central recently. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

“We only allow one fruit to grow per tree so that the nutrients and sugar are all concentrated on just one fruit. It (muskmelon) needs a high level of investment and it is very labour intensive… it’s a 6am to 6pm kind of commitment”, he said.

With this in mind, Superfish Growers is keen on collaborating with local farmers through contract farming, determined to imbue them with the skills and knowledge necessary that will ensure fruit quality.

Choosing to display different products using their Japanese muskmelons during the BIFS2019, Lee wanted to show the public the different business opportunities and value-added products that can be derived from their fruits.

“Even though we are focused on exports, it is ultimately a product that is grown and available locally. So we want to create collaborations to generate products that can be promoted under a single brand; Melts”.

Chief Technician and Co-Founder of Melts Willy Lee preparing Japanese muskmelon products at the Melts booth during the Brunei International Flower Show 2019 at Rimba Garden Central recently. Image: Ridhwan

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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