Technology transforms pineapple business during MCO

BATU PAHAT — Pineapples are truly inseparable during the festive season, being a key ingredient to produce several types of pastries and cakes when the celebration comes along every year.

With the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) which resulted in lower fruit sales, a few pineapple growers have taken the initiative to change their sales method in order to survive.

For pineapple farmer Mohd Fairuz Mohd As’ari, 35, who has cultivated pineapples at his orchard in Jalan Muar-Air Hitam here for a decade, this year marked the first time he sold most of the crop he produced online rather than to wholesalers and suppliers as previously.

“At first, it felt awkward to conduct business via online, including usage of social media and mobile app to promote my product; but after nearly two months, it has become routine and much easier to do business.

“I was initially quite worried there would be pineapple dumping when the month of Syawal arrives this year, but my prediction turned out to be false as demand remains good although business is not conducted as in the past,” he told Bernama in an interview.

After doing online promotion, he was surprised to see a sudden rise in the number of buyers, especially those who preferred to buy directly from him on a small scale. He would deliver the pineapples to these customers himself.

Mohd Fairuz, whose pineapple orchard spans about 10 acres, said most of his fruits would be turned into jam by his customers as Hari Raya Aidilfitri approached, in order to produce several popular sweet foods such as pineapple tart, pineapple roll, layered cake (bahulu lapis) and pineapple roll cake (bahulu gulung).

He said sales were only affected during the early stage of the MCO; the sales trend had returned to almost normal, with only exports still being hampered.

“I grow three varieties of pineapples — MD2, Josapine and Morris — whereby daily sales have reached 100 kg. This is slightly less than before the MCO but the volume should rise further next week.

“I am grateful to the Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board which has bought part of my production this time in order to avoid dumping, especially for the number of pineapples normally allocated for export,” he added.