State food firms synergising trade with Singapore

Kon speaking during the webinar.

KUCHING: Sarawakian food production companies are keen to link up with Singaporean investors or partners, as seen during the ‘Sarawak Business Matching on Food Sourcing’ webinar jointly organised by Singapore Business Federation and Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office Singapore (Statos) on Wednesday (June 24).

At the event, seven Sarawakian food production companies delivered presentations on their business and welcomed possible collaborations with Singapore.

Firstly, Antares Ventures Sdn Bhd director, Brendan Kon said that it was marketing Sarawak indigenous rice under the ‘Kenyalang’ brand.  The rice included Bario white rice and Bajong purple rice.

He said that despite the high quality and nutritional value of Sarawak’s indigenous rice, the demand was declining as consumers were more attracted to cheaper options.

“The prices of Sarawak rice are usually three to four times higher than imported rice, easily and abundantly available in supermarkets at lower prices,” he said.

There was  a yearly decline in Sarawak rice production, Kon said, because the average local paddy farmers were aging but still living in poverty while the younger generation were not interested in paddy planting,

“Our company, Antares Ventures, is committed to bringing economic empowerment and sustainability to rural paddy farmers. Working closely with local communities, we are determined to preserve our proud paddy planting traditions and varieties of heirloom rice.

“We believe that effective collective marketing is the way to create greater demand and export market for our rice. Through this, we enable our farmers to continue prospering while growing and preserving indigenous rice planting activities,” said Kon.

He also presented the value-added products which his company had developed, including purple rice vermicelli and traditional black rice tea.   Upcoming products included instant rice beverages and rice porridge for babies.

Kon welcomed collaborators who would like to partner with Antares Ventures Sdn Bhd through investments or by contributing to its development of value-added products.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Pepper Board (MPB) director general, Stanley Liew, in his presentation, highlighted the renowned Sarawak pepper, pointing out that numerous celebrity chefs had commended it.

He said that SaraSpice Sdn Bhd, owned by MPB, after months of careful planning and research would soon be launching  brand new looks for its well-established products, including ground black and white pepper as well as whole black and white peppercorns, among others.

“We now have a new trendy look for the SaraSpice logo and a new tagline – ‘Sarawak’s Pride’. These retail packs will enter grocery stores and supermarkets globally, including Singapore, in time to come. Anyone is interested in distributing these products can contact us,” he said.

Liew assured SaraSpice Sdn Bhd was a trusted brand with a group of loyal international buyers and that it always supplied only high-grade pure premium Sarawak pepper. 

The webinar also featured business presentations by Poh Lian Vegetable Sdn Bhd, Carus Eco Plants Sdn Bhd, Lian Hua Seng Livestock Sdn Bhd, Saramanis Sdn Bhd and Banana Tree Sdn Bhd.