Various Lubok Antu’s caged fish products

'Pekasam' red tilapia and salted 'jelawat'.

By Isabella Inchang

‘Mummy’s Recipe, a business brand under Penyaru Trading, is determined to ensure that 50 percent of its products are on the national market by 2022.

According to Regina Lambor, who is one of Penyaru Trading operators, in an effort to further expand the market of her products, she is currently applying for MeSTI (Safe Food, Responsibility of Industry) and halal certifications.

“D’ Mummy’s Recipe is a company that manufactures various caged fish products from Batang Ai, Lubok Antu.

“Among the products we offer are salted ‘jelawat’, smoked red tilapia, ‘serunding’ (fish floss) tilapia, ‘pekasam’ (preserved) red tilapia as well as ‘sambal cicah ikan’ (dipping sauce).

“The idea to start this business arose when I realised that fish products such as ‘pekasam’, salted fish, smoked fish and ‘serunding’ do not require much capital but they are always in high demand.

“Realising the great potential of this business, my sibling and I decided to set up Penyaru Trading in 2017 with a capital of RM25,000.

“To date, in addition to having five staff, we also operate two forms of business, namely fish-based products and chocolate-based products (such as bread, pastries and cakes).

“Apart from that, so far, we have 120 fish cages that breed Batang Ai red tilapia, ‘lampam’, ‘tengadak’ and ‘jelawat’,” she explained, adding that to ensure the fish are of high quality, the cages are constantly monitored by the Department of Agriculture and Sarawak Energy Berhad.

Further elaborating, Regina added in line with the digital economy policy introduced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, she had also introduced two of her products namely ‘pekasam’ and chocolate (branded as Borco) on Lazada and Shopee e- commerce platforms.

In fact, all of her products are now available at most shopping malls (including Aeon Mall Kuching Central and S&H Kota Samarahan), registered agents, expos and grocery shops in Masai, Johor; Puchong, Selangor; as well as Bintulu, Miri, Lubok Antu, Demak Laut, Kuching and Sibu, in Sarawak, she explained.

“I am grateful that these online business platforms have helped me a lot to grow my business.

“What is more interesting about online business is that I do not need to spend a lot to promote my products,” she said happily.

Regina at a photo call with other participants when joining a course.

Commenting on the price of the products, Regina said a bottle of ‘pekasam’ red tilapia weighing 800g is sold at RM17 while the 450g bottle sells for RM12; smoked red tilapia is RM60 per kilo; salted ‘jelawat’ weighing 500g is RM13; ‘serunding’ red tilapia sells at RM100 for the 300g bottle and ‘sambal cicah ikan’ weighing 280g costs RM5 per bottle.

When asked about the challenges in producing each of her products, she said the challenges are not the same because the way they are processed is different.

“To me, making ‘pekasam’ is not too difficult because it uses machine. We can produce 200kg or more ‘pekasam’ in a day depending on the stock and demand of my agents.

“Meanwhile, processing smoked red tilapia is a bit tedious as it requires a specific type of wood and takes a long time,” she said, adding fish-based products will last longer if stored properly.

In terms of cooperation, Regina said throughout her involvement in the business, she had collaborated with various agencies including the Department of Agriculture, Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) and Sarawak Farmers’ Association.

According to her, under the state Department of Agriculture, she was given a packaging and labelling grant amounting to RM40,000 while Mara has allocated a total of RM25,000 for halal and MeSTI certifications.

Apart from being determined to ensure that 50 percent of her products are on the national market by 2022, Regina also hoped to own a 30 percent of ‘pekasam’ tilapia market in Peninsular Malaysia.