Minister of Home Affairs YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Abu Bakar Apong (L) talking to one of the vendors. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

The government has introduced a new weekend market called “Pasar Kitani”, an initiative to promote the local agriculture industry and to provide local agribusinesses old and new with a platform to reach new markets.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT), in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) launched the new market in an event that was held at the Concourse Area of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium.

A total of 43 local entrepreneurs and farmers took part in the event, representing different sectors of the industry and displaying an array of products available for purchase including fruits and vegetables, poultry as well as processed agrifood.

Minister of Home Affairs YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Abu Bakar Apong (L) talking to one of the vendors. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

One of the participating vendors, Mazlan Hj Maidin, has been in the local poultry business for more than two decades, raising quail for their meat and eggs.

In an interview with The Bruneian, the quail farmer said that Pasar Kitani represents a good opportunity to bring more exposure to his products, even though he sells more than 2,000 quails and about 26,000 quail eggs to 13 supermarkets on a monthly basis.

 “Just today, a couple of customers were surprised to see that quail could be farmed or is even available in Brunei. Having been on the scene for quite a while, you understand that constant exposure and marketing is necessary,” said the 51-year-old.

Mazlan Hj Maidin, a local quail farmer, as one of the vendors at Pasar Kitani. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

Sharing the same sentiment was Elizabeth Chiew of Bruherbal Farm, a relative newcomer to the scene who specialises in growing medicinal herbs and herbal remedies such as mugwort.

Having recently been granted land by MPRT’s Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA) at the Mumong Agricultural Development Area (KKP), Chiew is committed towards expanding her market, all the while hoping to raise awareness on the benefits of the local medicinal herbs among the consumers.

“I think that the Pasar Kitani is a good platform that helps expose agripreneurs like me (who are new) to a wider market because prior to this I would only sell my goods among friends or through referrals via WhatsApp,” she said.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports YB Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan POKSMDSP Hj Abidin (R) at the launch of Pasar Kitani. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

For Hj Muliadi Moksin of Marsya Farm, due to the variety of agripreneurs taking part in the weekend market, there is potential to connect those interested in entering the agriculture industry, with agripreneurs that have been long established.

“This space could become an eye opener for many. As a full-time farmer for more than two decades, I’ve seen how the industry has changed and evolved over the years.

“With agrotechnology getting more advanced and more accessible, we can grow things that were not possible say five or ten years ago, like butternut squash, strawberries, even grapes, there is so much potential within the industry,” added the 40-year-old.

Minister of Home Affairs YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Abu Bakar Apong (front C), Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism YB Dato Seri Setia Dato Hj Ali Apong (front 2nd L) and Minister of Culture and Youth and Sports YB Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan POKSMDSP Hj Abidin (front 2nd R) along with the officials of Pasar Kitani. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

Present to officiate the launch of the weekend market was Minister of Home Affairs, YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Abu Bakar Apong, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, YB Dato Seri Setia Dato Hj Ali Apong and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports YB Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan POKSMDSP Hj Abidin.

The Pasar Kitani is open every Sunday from 6 am to 11 am. Those interested in taking part can contact the Secretariat of the Pasar Kitani programme at 2470400.

Meanwhile, for consumers who are unable to stop by the market, they can also purchase products featured in Pasar Kitani via local online food delivery platform Ta-pow!

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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