Shopee helps micro businesses pay it forward to farmers and fishermen

Mohd Ghazali Anuar

KUALA LUMPUR: With the aim of helping villagers affected by the movement control order (MCO), a soon-to-retire science teacher from Sabak Bernam had quickly got into the business of selling “sambal pecal” through Shopee while staying at home.

Besides helping to ease the growing family expenses, Mohd Ghazali Anuar, 56, said he wanted to sell food that was produced from farmers in his village which would also help their livelihoods and the “asnaf” community, a reference to people eligible to receive zakat aid.

“Apart from preparing for lessons and doing the home-based teaching and learning programme, I did not have much to do at home. Hence, I decided to occupy myself by selling sambal pecal on Shopee with my wife Hafizoturrafiah Supeni,” he told Bernama recently.

Ghazali spent RM500 to purchase raw ingredients such as chillies, onions and peanuts from his fellow villagers and to his delight, he managed to sell over 10 bottles within a month of opening Baiworld Kitchen on Shopee.

He said the sales grew six times after exploring other features and programmes available to sellers such as Shopee Ads and Coin Cashback and Free Shipping.

To further diversify the homemade products, Ghazali and his wife made snacks such as Kerepek Peria Crispy Ustazah Hafiza and Kerepek Pegaga Crispy Ustazah Hafizah as bitter gourd and centella asiatica leaves were among the hardest produce for the farmers to sell.

“So, we wanted to help them,” he said, adding that he purchased an average of 400 kilogrammes of bitter gourds from village farmers each week.

With his monthly sales averaging RM30,000, Ghazali seeks to give back further by purchasing the farmers’ produce at slightly higher than the market price.

“I have also hired two helpers from the asnaf community from my village and plans to hire another two in the future in order to cope with the growing demand from customers,” he said.

Another entrepreneur from Terengganu, Ermie Adnan, 34, said that he moved his online “keropok lekor” business from Facebook to Shopee around Hari Raya Puasa last year and never looked back, with his current sales worth RM25,000 per month.

Ermie, who was previously working in the oil and gas industry, now produces keropok lekor from fishes sourced directly from fishermen in Johor, Kelantan and Terengganu.

“My products sold out within four days of opening my Shopee store, Lekor Pok Loh. I had orders from people all over Malaysia, as far as Sabah and Sarawak.

“We are at a point where we limit the number of orders per day due to scarcity of raw materials. Everything in our store is made to order to maintain its freshness,” he said.

Shopee Malaysia senior manager (business development) Zed Li said these were not one-off stories.

“In fact, we have heard many encouraging stories about how our sellers’ lives have changed and how they are impacting the community in small and big ways.

“There are stories about single mothers, sole breadwinners losing their jobs, housewives needing to help with household expenses, unemployed youths, disabled Malaysians that have turned to Shopee to create livelihoods for themselves, families, friends and communities.

“They have gone on to hire employees, thereby creating jobs,” he said.

In assisting more sellers on Shopee, the platform will be co-funding a Go eCommerce Onboarding campaign with the Ministry of Finance and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and entrepreneurs go online.

“Through Go eCommerce, we will be providing benefits of up to RM3,000 to existing and new sellers to enable them to redeem store vouchers, participate in Coins Cashback and Free Shipping programmes,” he explained.

Li said the assistance, along with the marketing exposure provided by Shopee, would help in giving visibility to the sellers’ stores and encourage buyers to make purchases from their stores.

The programme is open to 60,000 registered Shopee sellers who are Malaysian citizens or MSMEs as defined by SME Corporation Malaysia.

For small and medium enterprises (SMEs), he said the company must have more than 50 per cent of its shares held by a local person or entity, and total monthly store sales must not exceed RM4 million to qualify.

The programme was also part of the Penjana e-commerce initiatives last year, known as MSME E-commerce Campaign, in which over 40,000 MSMEs were digitalised through the campaign that ran from July to September 2020.

Interested sellers can apply at from now until Nov 30, 2021. – Bernama