Capitalising on pekasam for extra income

Among the D’Mummy’s Recipe products.

KUCHING: The rich varieties of aquatic products in Lubok Antu district are major sources of income for local traders including Regina Lambor.

One of Regina’s most popular products is fermented fish, also known as pekasam.

“Everyone knows pekasam is a favourite delicacy among many Malaysians,” she said.

According to her, the high demand for fermented fish also motivated her to continue the business.

“So far, we use four types of fish namely red tilapia, jelawat or sultan fish, hulu fish, and patin fish.

“All these fish are from a fish farm at Batang Ai monitored by the State Department of Agriculture.

“The water quality of the farming area is also monitored by the State Chemistry Department, which produces chemical-free river fish,” she added.

According to her, the response is very encouraging, reaching 200kg in a week.

“Basically, we use two different business methods, namely online and through agents.

“Currently, we have several agents in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak,” she said.

According to Regina, fermented fish are also sold according to the packaging and size.

“Usually, we use four types of packaging, namely glass bottles for 850g, 450g and 200g for RM17, RM12 and RM8 respectively; followed by aluminium plastic for 320g for RM10,” she said.

Regina and staff of D’Mummy’s Recipe.

Commenting on the business’s operations throughout Covid-19, Regina said there were no significant changes in terms of product demand.

“Demand for my products is quite consistent despite some problems we have faced in terms of delivery to customers due to the movement restrictions.

“Most shipments are made through postal and bus deliveries, but if both are facing problems, then it’ll disrupt the shipping process.

“Meanwhile, for the other sales method, there was a slight decrease, especially at the beginning of the movement control order (MCO) because processing operations had to be closed temporarily when some workers had to be quarantined,” she said.

Apart from selling fermented products, the owner of D’Mummy’s Recipe also produces other fish products including smoked Batang Ai red tilapia, Batang Ai salted jelawat fish, Batang Ai red tilapia fish floss and fish chilli sauce.

“For those interested in becoming our agent, you are encouraged to contact D’Mummy’s Recipe on its Facebook page for more information.

“Usually, the average profit for each agent is around RM300 to RM500 a week,” said Regina.

According to her, the fermentation business also gives lucrative returns because the production cost is relatively low while the demand is high.

“My goal is to control 50 percent of the freshwater fermented fish market in Sarawak by 2023 and 35 percent of the Malaysian freshwater fermented fish market by 2025.

“With this goal in mind, I plan to expand my own cage breeding area, Penyaru Trading, to enable D’Mummy’s Recipe to control the cost price of raw materials for continuous product production while offering partnerships such as plantation contracts to obtain continuous supply,” she said.

She also expressed her gratitude for obtaining a halal certificate for her products.