More flock to farmers' market

KUANTAN - THE Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority's (Fama) "Jimat Belanja Dapur" (Save On Kitchen Expenses) campaign launched last week proved to be a win-win situation for "Pasar Tani Mega" operators and consumers here.

While the people enjoy lower rates for items sold under the dark-blue canopies at the farmers' market, the operators had received a steady stream of customers who made a beeline since early morning to buy fresh vegetables, meat and other produce.

To make it convenient for customers, some operators placed the produce, such as onions and chillies, in small plastic containers while others used plastic packets with price tags.

Since the prices at the weekly open-air market were far cheaper than those at hypermarkets and grocery stores, many people bought extra vegetables, fish and chicken as they could store the perishable goods in the fridge.

Housewife Maimunah Samim said the farmers' market was her preferred destination as the items sold were fresh from the farms and seldom contaminated with pesticides.

The 32-year-old from Indera Mahkota here said she only went to the wet market in Jalan Tun Ismail when items were not available at the farmers' market.

"However, that seldom happens as I come here early and get to pick the fresh ones. With Fama's campaign, essential items are offered at cheaper prices.

"Although some people claim that several items were experiencing shortages due to the monsoon season, all of the items available here are sold at cheaper prices."

Trader Ahmad Rusdi, 44, said some traders, who had a supply of vegetables from their own farms, had attracted to lower the prices further and this had lured in more customers.

A spokesperson from Fama said it planned to introduce more pasar tani in housing areas. Pahang offers 513 pasar tani, selling more than 22 selected items.