Dates importer to maintain prices of Ramadan staple

Yusuf with his products at Plaza MWE in Lebuh Farquhar, Penang. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

LEADING dates importer Datuk Seri Yusuf Taiyoob is expecting a surge in demand for dates with Ramadan beginning this week.

He said although business had improved after the Covid-19 pandemic, the weak ringgit had led to costlier imports.

“Although the import prices are high, we have not increased the prices of our dates.

“It’ll still be the same price as last year as we believe people know the quality of our brand and this gives us a higher volume,” said Yusuf, the managing director of Yusuf Taiyoob Sdn Bhd in an interview.

Besides two retail stores on Penang island, a storage, cold room as well as a cash-and-carry centre in Bukit Minyak on the mainland, the brand also has outlets in Shah Alam, Kota Damansara and Johor Baru.

“We import around 3,000 to 4,000 tonnes of dates every year, which have a shelf life of one to two years.

“We try to ensure our stock is sold by the end of every year.

“We offer 15 brands and more than 30 types of dates, especially from Tunisia, which we introduced to the country 20 years ago,” he said.

Yusuf was made an honorary consul of Tunisia last November for his role in expanding the country’s business opportunities.

“It is an honour to be made a consul, which is a testament to my efforts in building a good working relationship with Tunisia over the years,” he said.

The company also imports dates from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt, Iran and Palestine.

“We are the main date distributor to retail outlets in the country.

“Although there are cheaper brands in the market, Yusuf Taiyoob sells as people know our quality,” he said.

Other than dates, the company’s “Kurma Junction” in Beach Street, George Town, also sells dried fruits, nuts, spices, beans and other food products.

“The fluctuating exchange rate is putting a damper on the business, as all our products are imported in US dollar.

“A stable ringgit will help us to bring in products at a competitive rate and sell them for a lower price,” added Yusuf who has been in the business for 30 years.

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Yusuf Taiyoob , dates , Ramadan


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